Two charged in connection with murder investigation

Detective Inspector Shona Low said at a press conference at Dunedin Central Police Station...
Detective Inspector Shona Low said at a press conference at Dunedin Central Police Station yesterday a 37-year-old man had been charged with murder and a 30-year-old woman had been charged with being an accessory to murder. PHOTOS: PETER MCINTOSH & STEPHEN JAQUIERY
A man has been charged with murder and a woman stands accused as an accessory after the decomposed body of a man was discovered in a rural area north of Dunedin.

John Kenneth Collins (37) and his alleged accomplice Aleisha Cherie Dawson (30) appeared separately before Judge Marie McKenzie in the Rotorua District Court yesterday afternoon.

Police said the severely decomposed body was found near Steep Hill Rd, a gravel road just off State Highway 1, north of Evansdale, opposite a cemetery and the site of an old church.

The body was found about 8pm on Monday.

Court documents name the victim as Brent Andrew Bacon.

The area is close to Waitati, which led to speculation the discovery of the body was connected to the recent stabbing attack on a miniature horse in the seaside township, but police quashed any suggestion of a link.

"Nothing to suggest that at all," Southern district field crime manager Detective Inspector Shona Low said at a media conference yesterday.

Police have finished forensic work in Steep Hill Rd, on the Kilmog, where the body was found.
Police have finished forensic work in Steep Hill Rd, on the Kilmog, where the body was found.
Collins faces one charge of murder and another of unlawfully taking a motor vehicle.

He appeared in court wearing board shorts and a T-shirt.

His lawyer Harry Edwards made no applications for name suppression or for bail.

Collins was remanded in custody without plea until his next appearance on March 5 in the High Court at Dunedin.

Dawson faces charges of accessory to murder after the fact, unlawfully taking a motor vehicle and two charges of attempting to use bank cards to obtain pecuniary advantage.

Her duty lawyer Tim Braithwaite applied for bail but this was opposed by police and declined by the judge.

The pair were arrested in Rotorua late on Wednesday afternoon.

Det Insp Low reiterated her earlier appeal for sightings of a dark blue 1995 Toyota Emina people mover, driven from Dunedin to Picton early on February 5, and since found in Picton.

That same Tuesday, a missing person was reported in relation to a Dunedin property in Lock St, St Clair, which has been cordoned off by police and underĀ 

Image: Google
Image: Google

examination by forensic experts since Sunday.

Det Insp Low said the body was in an "advanced state of decomposition" when discovered.

The dead person was known to the arrested pair but did not live in the Housing New Zealand flat in Lock St.

A postmortem took place yesterday.

The pair had been of interest to police since the investigation began on Sunday night and officers were not seeking anyone else.

There was no suggestion the alleged killing was gang-related, but Det Insp Low would not speculate on whether drugs or the drug trade were involved.

- Additional reporting NZME

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