A man accused of assaulting elderly women in their homes denied he is the man charged with the crimes, insisted on being referred to by a different name and fired his lawyer when he appeared in court this morning.

William John Murphy, 36, faces a number of charges in relation to the assault of elderly women in Auckland and other offences.

He appeared before Auckland District Court today via video-link, but refused to confirm his identity to Judge Emma Aitken, first telling her to "ask the prosecution'', before insisting "I'm not going to tell you that''.

He was stood down for a period, during which he faxed a letter to the judge informing her he was Rangatira Wiremu Murphy.


When Murphy next appeared via video-link he said he wanted to be referred to as Rangitira.

He later denied he was the same person as the man charged with the assaults earlier this year, saying: "The capitalised entity that's on the charge documents is not me.''

However, Judge Aitken said she did not accept this.

Murphy was representing himself in court, after his legal aid lawyer Peter Eastwood withdrew from the case.

Judge Aitken said Murphy didn't consent to Mr Eastwood's representation, and cited a breakdown in relationships.

Murphy also insisted he wanted time to "gain the right legal advice from somebody that's going to listen to my arguments''.

He was granted a week to seek advice from a new lawyer, during which time police also have to file their formal written statements, which they have asked to amend.

Police publicly named Murphy as a person of interest while investigating an attack on a 74-year-old woman in Pakuranga in June. He was arrested after a pursuit on Auckland's Northern Motorway on June 24.