21 Jan 2016

Teenager accused of murder appears in court

3:04 pm on 21 January 2016

A teenager accused of killing and sexually violating a 69-year-old west Auckland woman in her home has appeared in court today.

Cun Xiu Tian

Cun Xiu Tian Photo: SUPPLIED

Family members found Cun Xiu Tian dead in her Te Atatu house last Friday, with a post mortem finding she endured a brutal, prolonged assault.

Last night's arrest ended a five-day manhunt by police.

The 19-year-old man, who is also from Te Atatu has briefly appeared in the Waitakere District Court this afternoon, on three charges - one of murder and two of sexual violation.

He has been granted interim name suppression and been remanded in custody without plea, to reappear in the High Court on 10 February.

As he was being escorted by security out of the courtroom, a woman in the public gallery yelled out : "You low-down human being."

Police are looking for the killer of CUn Xiu Tian.

Police have been investigating Ms Tian's death since Friday. Photo: SUPPLIED / RNZ / Kim Baker Wilson

Detective Senior Sergeant Roger Small said last night Ms Tian's family were being supported by the police's victim support team after being told of the arrest.

"I know that the arrest will bring some relief to the Te Atatu and wider community and we'd like to thank the public for their support and assistance over the past six days," he said.

The Te Atatu community turned out in numbers for a memorial service for Cun Xiu Tian

The Te Atatu community turned out in numbers for a memorial service. Photo: RNZ / Kim Baker Wilson

Ms Tian's body was found by family members when they got home from work at about 5.30pm last Friday.

She had lived in the area for many years and lived with her daughter and son-in-law on Glenvil Lane.

During their investigation, the police called the 69-year-old's death in her own home a despicable crime and said that she suffered a horrific death.

They said great force was used to strike her about the head and face many times.

Ms Tian's family released a statement through the police yesterday afternoon before the arrest was announced.

"We would like to extend our thanks and gratitude to the entire Te Atatu community for their support in our time of grief.

"Last night's vigil for our Mum was very much appreciated and we are very humbled to know that so many people are thinking of our family.

"To everyone in Te Atatu and beyond who has put us in their thoughts and prayers, thank you, we really really appreciate it," the family said.

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