Blessie murder-accused in court: Name remains suppressed

By Jimmy Ellingham, Sophie Ryan

The man accused of murdering Auckland woman Blessie Gotingco will keep his name secret for now.

An order suppressing the man's identity was continued by Justice Timothy Brewer in the High Court at Auckland today.

Part way through the hearing the man was removed by security from the court and taken down to the cells after swearing loudly.

Defence lawyer Peter Winter argued for the suppression order to continue, which Crown prosecutor Aaron Perkins opposed.

Watch: Protest as Blessie murder-accused in court

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The man did not enter a plea today but Justice Brewer scheduled a three-week trial for March next year.

The suppression order lasts until then.

The man will next appear for a pre-trial hearing in August.

Mrs Gotingco, a 56-year-old mother of three, was last seen leaving her workplace, Tower Insurance, about 7pm on May 24.

She took a bus from Lower Albert St to Birkdale Rd and it is thought she was walking the short distance home when she encountered her alleged attacker.

He lived within a couple of kilometres from Mrs Gotingco's Salisbury Rd home and less than a kilometre from the bus stop she got off at.

Mrs Gotingco's body was found in an area of bush at the Birkenhead-Glenfield cemetery on Eskdale Rd.

A 27-year-old man has been charged with murdering Blesilda Gotingco.
A 27-year-old man has been charged with murdering Blesilda Gotingco.

During his appearance this morning around 20 members of Blessie's family and supporters held a silent protest outside.

They held placards reading "Justice for Blessie"and "Shame on the judicial system".

Blessie's husband Antonio Gotingco held a large framed photo of his wife.

Blessie's son John said the family were pleased that people had come to support their call for justice today.

"We're happy that other people have taken up my mother's cause.

"We feel we're not going through this situation alone.

"My mother's death, while tragic, we hope it will be a catalyst for change for how deal with crime in New Zealand."

Antonio Gotingco said he was thankful for the support of the community today.

"I just want to see justice for my wife and safety for all."

Protest organiser and Birkdale resident Tracey Clarke said she was told the family didn't want to go inside the court for the accused's appearance.

"They indicated to me they want to be here [outside] with us."

Ms Clarke said the family would be on "a roller coaster journey" through the court system and she wanted to support them through it.

When name suppression was granted for the accused, Ms Clarke said she was "numb".

"He is an ordinary member of society, no one famous, I'm just numb."

- APNZ

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