One of a group of people charged over a $750,000 high-end couture burglary at world famous fashion designer Dame Trelise Cooper's styling room has pleaded guilty.
Only "one lonely hanger" was left from Cooper's entire 2021 spring and summer samples after the break-in at her office in Newmarket last October.
Today, a 42-year-old man and two of his co-accused appeared in the Auckland District Court before Judge Eddie Paul. The court heard from the judge some 2000 garments, worth $750,000, were stolen - higher than the previously believed 1800 items vauled at $500,000.
The man pleaded guilty to three charges, including burglary and a representative charge of obtaining by deception, but still cannot be named after his lawyer Katrina Hamblin sought continued name suppression.
Judge Paul declined to maintain suppression for the man and a 45-year-old cake decorator, charged with receiving stolen property, this afternoon. He said the "seriousness of this offending speaks for itself", while the desire to end harmful suspicions and social media rumor of an "inside job" by Cooper's staff was also a factor in his decison.
However, both accused will continue to enjoy anonymity after Hamblin and fellow defence counsel Christina Hallaway indicated their clients would appeal the decision to the High Court.
The cake retailer and a florist, who can now be named as Andrea Nicole Edwards after their suppression lapsed, continue to deny the allegations they face and are due to stand trial next year.
Edwards, 46, is also charged with receiving stolen property.
The man, who earlier argued for suppression because he was "well-known" in the TV industry, is expected to be sentenced in late September.
The arrests of the trio came after police conducted a search of a property in central Auckland last November.
During the search, police said they recovered "a significant amount" of the clothing which was returned to Cooper. However, in March the court heard about three-quarters of the missing clothing was still unaccounted for.
Speaking to the Herald after the break-in, Cooper said access was gained into the styling room through a vent in an electrical room.
She said it was the first time her head office had been burgled in 25 years, although someone unsuccessfully tried to break into the building about 14 years ago.
The building was alarmed and monitored by security guards but did not have CCTV, which Cooper said were being installed after the fashion crime.
A fourth person, a 26-year-old woman, was charged in May with allegedly receiving stolen Trelise Cooper-branded clothing.