The scaffolder charged with murder after allegedly hitting a jogger with his car in New Plymouth will go to trial later this year.
Matthew Kinghorn, 27, was charged with the murder of Anne Elizabeth McCullough, 45, after her body was found in the back of his Holden Commodore on October 20 last year.
Visitors to the Meeting of the Waters reserve contacted police after seeing her body in the back seat of Kinghorn's abandoned purple car.
At the time, Kinghorn was already in New Plymouth police cells after he was reported trespassing at a downstream property 800 metres away on the opposite bank of the Waiwhakaiho River.
Police allege Kinghorn ran into Mrs McCullough with his car when she was out for an afternoon run on Frankley Rd.
Kinghorn was initially charged with manslaughter but the charge was later elevated to murder.
Yesterday, Mrs McCullough's family and friends sat in the back of the court for Kinghorn's first appearance in the High Court in New Plymouth.
Kinghorn, who remains in custody, has grown a goatee beard since his appearance in the District Court last year.
Crown solicitor Cherie Clarke informed Justice Christopher Allan during the short callover hearing that the murder trial was likely to run for about two weeks.
There would be about 50 Crown witnesses, many of whom could have their evidence read to the court.
It was possible the trial could be scheduled for about six months' time, in August or September.
Both the Crown and defence intend to call traffic experts to give evidence. Defence counsel Julian Hannam said he intended challenging statements said to have been made by Kinghorn to a police doctor.
The next callover date in the High Court will be on March 13. Justice Allan said it would not be necessary for Kinghorn to appear.
- Taranaki Daily News
Have you signed up to stop smoking?