Morgan Tait is the NZ Herald's police reporter.

Remuera killing: Man accused of killing jogger Jo Pert may have been breaking into houses

Ms Pert, a 41-year-old mother of two, died after she was allegedly attacked while on her morning run in Remuera a week ago. Photo / Supplied
Ms Pert, a 41-year-old mother of two, died after she was allegedly attacked while on her morning run in Remuera a week ago. Photo / Supplied

The man accused of killing Auckland jogger Jo Pert may have been spotted trying to break into houses the day before her death.

A yellow Mazda Demio car is being held in connection with the murder of Jo Pert. Photo / Supplied, NZ Police
A yellow Mazda Demio car is being held in connection with the murder of Jo Pert. Photo / Supplied, NZ Police

Police officers building a case against the 24-year-old Mt Roskill man accused of murdering the 41-year-old mother of two have been following up possible sightings of the man in the hours before her death.

Ms Pert died after she was allegedly attacked while out for her morning run on Shore Rd, Remuera a week ago. The accused was charged with her murder after handing himself into police hours later, but his name has been suppressed by the courts.

Police have previously said that Operation Solitaire investigators were seeking information about the yellow Mazda Demio the accused was driving when he turned himself in as they try to piece together his movements in the 24-hours before the alleged attack.

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On Wednesday, police officers were door-knocking in Grey Lynn - 12km from where Ms Pert was believed to be attacked - asking residents about sightings of a man believed to have been trying to break into houses in the area on January 6, the day before her death.

A resident of Julian St said an officer came to her door about 1.40pm yesterday and asked about sightings of a man driving a yellow Mazda who was allegedly seen trying to break into houses.

A police spokeswoman confirmed that the queries in Grey Lynn were linked to Operation Solitaire, the investigation into Ms Pert's death.

"Police on Operation Solitaire have been following up on information about sightings of a yellow Mazda Demio on January 6 and January 7," she said.

Information was also still being gathered from the public who saw Ms Pert out running that morning.

READ MORE: Women to 'reclaim the streets' for Jo Pert
Slain mum Jo Pert farewelled

A toll free phone line and an email address have also been set up to take tips about the case.

The police spokeswoman said information from members of the public via those channels had resulted in dozens of calls and messages, "several of which have been followed up already but there are still many to evaluate and which are scheduled for call back by staff".

She said information had also been received from other women who were in the area at the time and have notified police of the locations they were in and the routes they took while exercising.

"This information is proving helpful to the team that is trying to reconstruct Jo's movements on the morning she was allegedly killed."

Police are still encouraging anyone who hasn't yet notified staff of sightings of a yellow Mazda Demio between January 6 and midday on January 7 to contact Operation Solitaire on 0800 765 842 or solitaire@police.govt.nz.

Meanwhile, a group of Auckland woman will join forces this weekend to "reclaim the streets" with a memorial run for Ms Pert.

Nike NZ's Running Coordinator Lydia O'Donnell organised the run in memory of Jo Pert. Photo / Instagram
Nike NZ's Running Coordinator Lydia O'Donnell organised the run in memory of Jo Pert. Photo / Instagram

Organised by Nike NZ's Running Co-ordinator Lydia O'Donnell, 25, the Run For Her 5km event was designed to eliminate fears in the community following the attack.

"I organise a lot of events through work and do coaching and after what happened in Auckland last week with the attack I have had quite a lot of girls who have been in touch with me freaking out about running in Auckland and running alone.

"I thought, 'screw that, that's not fair -- we should be able to get out and get running whenever we want'. And this is a way to honour Jo and her love of running."

The event will leave Victoria Park at 11am on Saturday, snaking a 5km route around the waterfront and through Westhaven.

- NZ Herald

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