Rob Kidd is a NZME. News Service court reporter based in Auckland.

Woman accused of desecrating graves appears in court

The 43-year-old accused of intentional damage appeared in Papakura District Court this morning. Photo / File
The 43-year-old accused of intentional damage appeared in Papakura District Court this morning. Photo / File

It is more than eight months since a South Auckland cemetery was desecrated and the court case for the woman accused of the vandalism is no closer to being resolved.

The 43-year-old accused of intentional damage appeared in Papakura District Court this morning where there were extensive discussions about how the case was to progress.

Because of a suppression order and the need to protect fair-trial rights, those details cannot be published.

However, the court heard that the woman was keen to have the long-running case resolved as soon as possible.

The alleged offending made headlines in May when numerous graves -- belonging to mostly children and stillborn babies -- were found desecrated at the Papakura Cemetery.

It prompted the local community to help with the clean-up and others even came from further afield to lend a hand.

Vicki Bates, whose daughter Madison was buried at the cemetery, told the Herald at the time: "We had a fireman who came down from Whangaparaoa -- he cooked sausages and made drinks for everybody.

"And we had a lady make us a cake for Madison's birthday, because it was her birthday."

About three or four sections of the cemetery were damaged, including adornments being thrown around and damage to headstones.

The defendant was collared nearly a month later after police released grainy CCTV shots from the night of the incident.

Inspector Mark Rowbottom said "a culmination" of factors had led to the woman's arrest but would not elaborate on her motives.

Public interest and media coverage helped police narrow their focus to a range of suspects, he said.

The accused will appear in court again in April where evidence will be called regarding her alleged role in the offending.

It is understood she was interviewed by police before being arrested, a recording of which may be played for the court.

- NZ Herald

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