Teen admits killing retired teacher

By Katie Holland of the Daily Post -
The Court of Appeal had granted a retrial for Lori-lea Te Wini after she was convicted and sentenced to life in prison for the murder of retired Opotiki school teacher John Rowe in 2008. File photo / Stephen Parker
The Court of Appeal had granted a retrial for Lori-lea Te Wini after she was convicted and sentenced to life in prison for the murder of retired Opotiki school teacher John Rowe in 2008. File photo / Stephen Parker

Teenager Lori-Lea Waiora Te Wini has pleaded guilty to the 2008 murder of a retired Opotiki schoolteacher, four days before her retrial was set to begin.

In the High Court at Rotorua today Te Wini pleaded guilty to murdering John Rowe at his home on November 25, 2008. She was 14 at the time.

Te Wini and her cousin Courtney Pauline Churchward (16 at the time of the offence) were found guilty of murder and sentenced to at least 17 years in prison in December 2009.

Both appealed their convictions and sentences and in June 2011 the Court of Appeal granted Te Wini a retrial, which had been due to start on Monday. Churchward has since had her sentence reduced to a minimum of 13 years.

Te Wini will be sentenced on July 13.

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