Tributes laid at bridge for young mum

By Kristin Edge of the Northern Advocate -
Tributes have appeared on the bridge above Waiarohia stream on Tarewa Rd. Photo / Michael Cunningham
Tributes have appeared on the bridge above Waiarohia stream on Tarewa Rd. Photo / Michael Cunningham

Floral tributes are appearing in central Whangarei for a local woman, described as "a gorgeous darling".

Police yesterday revealed the 21-year-old woman found under a bridge on the banks of the Waiarohia stream last Friday was Ashlee Louise Anne Edwards.

She is the mother of two children aged 2 years and 4 months.

More floral tributes have been laid on the bridge, along with a small child's toy, just metres above where Miss Edwards body was found by police, face down on rocks.

An unemployed 29-year-old Whangarei man, accused of murder, appeared again in Whangarei District Court yesterday and was remanded in custody until tomorrow.

He was granted continued interim name suppression until then.

He was dressed in a raincoat-type overall and appeared calm and composed throughout the brief appearance before Judge Keith de Ridder. Far North lawyer Steve Nicholson represented him and said he did not anticipate name suppression to continue for long.

There were matters such as Ms Edwards two young children and concerns about the safety for the accused and his whanau that needed to be dealt with, he said.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Stu Wilkes maintained a neutral stand on the continuation of interim name suppression.

Security was beefed up inside the courtroom for his appearance with security and police officers, but the numbers in the public gallery were low.

Miss Edwards was a former Whangarei Girls' High School student, also attended Okaihau College and spent a short while at Whangarei's He Matariki School for Teen Parents.

In a notice published in the Advocate Miss Edwards was described as a "loving mummy" and a "sweetie-pie, gorgeous darling".

A team of police continued to work on the case and have appealed to members of the public to come forward if they have found a black LG A180 cellphone in the inner city area in the past few days.

Head of the investigation Detective Senior Sergeant Dene Begbie said he believed Miss Edwards had the cellphone with her before her death.

"If anyone has seen or found a phone like this, most likely in the central city area, we are keen to hear from them," Mr Begbie said. "We want to have as much information as we can and this phone is an important part of that."

He also appealed to motorists and pedestrians who had been in the Tarewa Rd area, including the nearby service station, at 2am on Friday so they could build a picture of Miss Edward's movements.

A post-mortem has been completed and police confirmed they are not looking for a weapon.

A service to celebrate Miss Edwards life will be held in the Okaihau community hall today at 11am, to be followed by burial at St Catherine's Anglican church cemetery.

Anyone with information about the cellphone should contact Mr Begbie on 09 4304500 or 0800 Crimestoppers.

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