Slain woman 'missed her children'

NEIL RATLEY
Last updated 05:00 18/02/2013
The Haven
NEIL RATLEY/Fairfax NZ

AT HOME: The Haven landlady, Robyn Hogan, centre on steps, surrounded by hostel residents Matt Irving, Emily Bradley, Koustubh Joshi, Satnam Singh, Thomas Joy, Neville Holmes, Sarah Ford, and Mel Carson, who are all happy to be home.

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A woman found dead at an Invercargill accommodation hostel nine days ago has been described as a private and caring person who missed her children.

The Haven landlady, Robyn Hogan, speaking to The Southland Times after the hostel was reopened at the weekend, said Nicola Fleming had moved into The Haven three months ago to sort out her life.

Ms Fleming, 38, was found dead in her room at The Haven hostel in Tyne St on February 9. An unemployed 30-year-old man appeared in the Invercargill District Court last week charged with her murder.

He was granted interim name suppression and remanded in custody till February 27.

Ms Hogan, remembering Ms Fleming yesterday, said she had talked of how much she loved and missed her children who were in the good care of her in-laws.

"She was a very private person and I didn't pry but when we did talk she spoke of her children who she missed very much."

Ms Hogan said she was not sure where Ms Fleming came from before arriving at The Haven.

"I believe she moved in here to work through some issues in her life," she said.

"She was sad when she first moved in but before she died she was much happier.

"[Nicola] was also a caring person who had showed great concern for me when I was sick."

Police completed their scene examination of The Haven on Friday and the hostel's 14 residents moved back in later that night.

Ms Hogan said the residents, a mixture of students and workers, were glad to be home and ready to resume their lives.

They had been wonderfully looked after by the people at the Townsman Motor Lodge for the past week, Ms Hogan said.

The residents were all able to stay together during an emotional and difficult time at the Townsman Motor Lodge and that was a big help, she added.

"It was like a group therapy and even now back at The Haven, we encourage people to talk about what happened if they want to.

"Even though I was the only one who knew [Nicola] well, there has been a grieving process for everyone at the hostel.

"All we can do is carry on as best we can."

The police and friends had been wonderful during a difficult time, she said.

Ms Hogan said the door to Ms Fleming's room and all her furniture had been removed by police during the investigation

"They took everything out of her room."

Sergeant Pete Graham, of Invercargill, said police investigators completed their examination of the hostel and surrounding area on Friday but there were still a lot of inquiries to be made.

It could take several weeks before those inquiries - including speaking with neighbours - were completed, he said.

There would be an evaluation of what was found at the scene, Mr Graham said. The police barrier on Tyne St had been removed and the street open to traffic. Police continued to decline to comment on the nature of the injuries to Ms Fleming and did not provide further information.

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- The Southland Times

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