18 May 2012

Teen killer granted retrial now pleads guilty

6:11 am on 18 May 2012

A teenager previously convicted and sentenced for the murder of retired Opotiki school teacher John Rowe has pleaded guilty ahead of her retrial.

Lori-Lea Te Wini, who was 14 at the time she killed Mr Rowe in his home in 2008, pleaded guilty to the murder in the High Court at Rotorua on Thursday.

Te Wini and her cousin Courtney Churchward were found guilty of murder and sentenced to at least 17 years in prison in December 2009.

Te Wini appealed against both her convictions and sentence and last year the Court of Appeal granted a retrial which was due to start next Monday.

Churchward also appealed and has since had her sentence reduced to a minimum of 13 years.

Te Wini's lawyer Christopher Stephenson declined to comment on why the guilty plea had been entered.

The teenager will be sentenced on 13 July.