Partner of murder victim admits fraud

The partner of a woman murdered at their Okoki home last year has admitted defrauding the Department of Social Development of more than $23,000.

In the New Plymouth District Court yesterday, farmer Kerry Aubrey Lock, 56, was convicted of two charges of benefit fraud.

He received a sickness benefit from May 2009 to June 2012 but failed to tell the department that Rosemaree Kurth was living with him from October 2010 to April 15 last year, the Department of Social Development's summary says.

On October 27, 2011, Lock submitted a child inclusion form to the department, again failing to declare he was living with a partner.

Six months later, on April 15, Mrs Kurth was murdered by Lock's de facto grandson Jordan Nelson.

Nelson was then 13 years old.

He shot Mrs Kurth in the back of her head while she was doing a jigsaw puzzle at the Okoki home the three shared.

Nelson has since pleaded guilty to the murder of Mrs Kurth and been sentenced to a finite sentence of 18 years rather than life imprisonment.

The department's summary reveals that Lock was interviewed by department investigators just over a month after Mrs Kurth's death, on May 29, when he admitted the offending and that he had been overpaid $23,460.48.

The summary says the department discovered the fraud "as a result of information being received".

In court yesterday, Lock's lawyer Amy Dallison said her client was paying the money back to the department.

Community magistrate Jack Best remanded Lock until May 6 and ordered a pre-sentence report.

Taranaki Daily News