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

Man accused of murdering Lance John Murphy named

Lance John Murphy's body was found in a field in Wellsford on December 14, nearly a week after he went missing. Photo / Supplied
Lance John Murphy's body was found in a field in Wellsford on December 14, nearly a week after he went missing. Photo / Supplied

The man accused of murdering Lance John Murphy can now be named.

Michael Joseph Davies, also known as Waipouri, appeared in the High Court at Auckland this morning, where his name suppression lapsed.

The 51-year-old pleaded not guilty to the killing after Mr Murphy's body was found in a field in Wellsford on December 14, nearly a week after he went missing.

Steve Brent Gunbie, 37, is accused of kidnapping the victim and dishonestly taking a Holden.

He too denied the charges against him.

Police had asked for information about Mr Murphy who had last been seen at the BP service station in Warkworth on November 21.

Five days later they found his car at a property just 2km away.

Mr Murphy's blood was found in the car and a manhunt was launched for Gunbie for his alleged role in the crime.

He and Davies will appear in court again in March.

Their trial was set for October.

- NZ Herald

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