Samuel Hemuera Pou has been charged with the murder of 43-year-old Bridget Odelle Simmonds while another man faces a charge of using her bank card three days after she was reported missing by her family.

The murder charge comes after the body of Simmonds was excavated at a rural property at Parakao, 40km west of Whangārei, on June 12.

Police converged on the 20ha block of land on Wilson Rd, 40km west of Whangārei, after new information came to light which caused investigators to believe foul play was involved in the disappearance of the mother of two.

Pou, represented by lawyers Arthur Fairley and Julie Young, appeared via an audio visual link before Judge John McDonald in the Whangārei District Court today.

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A murder charge comes after the body of Bridget Simmonds was excavated at a rural property at Parakao. Photo / Supplied
A murder charge comes after the body of Bridget Simmonds was excavated at a rural property at Parakao. Photo / Supplied

The 57-year-old, from Otangarei, is charged that between February 23, 2019, and March 14, 2019, he murdered Simmonds.

He also faced a charge that, with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, he wounded Simmonds on February 14, 2019.

In relation to another woman, Pou faces three charges of injuring her between December 2016 and March 2017.

He pleaded not guilty to the charges and was remanded in custody to the High Court at Whangārei on July 9.

Pou pleaded guilty to a charge of possession of cannabis relating to a search warrant on June 9, 2020.

Also appearing in the Whangārei District Court today was 32-year-old Te Koha Samuel Pou, of Otaika, who was charged with obtaining a pecuniary advantage by using an ANZ bankcard belonging to Bridget Simmonds on March 9, 2019.

He entered a not guilty plea to the charge, opted for a judge-alone trial and was remanded on bail to July 31 for a case review.

Simmonds' mother dropped her at Countdown supermarket in the Regent on her way to Auckland for the weekend on February 23, 2019. Simmonds was reported missing on March 6 after all communication with her family stopped.

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Detective Senior Sergeant John Clayton said arresting and charging a man with murder marked the end of a lengthy investigation involving hundreds of hours of police work. Photo / Michael Cunningham
Detective Senior Sergeant John Clayton said arresting and charging a man with murder marked the end of a lengthy investigation involving hundreds of hours of police work. Photo / Michael Cunningham

Detective Senior Sergeant John Clayton said the arrest and court appearance of Pou marked the end of an investigation involving hundreds of hours of police work.

He hoped it would bring Simmonds' family some degree of closure after what has been an incredibly difficult past year for them.

A service for Simmonds was held in Kerikeri on Saturday, with family asking for donations instead of flowers to go towards Givealittle or Victim Support.

Police have a direct phone line available for people to call with information that may help the case.

Anyone with information is urged to call 09 430 4555. All calls to this number will be treated in confidence.

The phone line will be manned 8am-5pm Monday to Friday, and anyone who calls outside those hours can call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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