A 23-year-old man has this morning pleaded guilty to murdering Tokoroa teacher Lois Dear, who was killed in her classroom last year.
At the High Court at Rotorua, Whetu Te Hiko admitted killing the 66-year-old teacher at Strathmore School in July.
Te Hiko stood in the dock with his head bowed and his hands behind his back, only looking up when the court registrar how he pleaded.
"Guilty, your honour," Te Hiko said in a clear voice.
Ms Dear's family, who were in the court, remained silent but her daughter Jan Armstrong put her head down and was comforted by relatives.
Justice John Wild formally convicted Te Hiko of the crime and remanded him in custody for sentencing on May 4.
As Te Hiko was led from the courtroom, Ms Dear's son Kevin McNeil yelled some abuse at him.
Outside the court later, Mr McNeil said he had a lot of pent up anger which he did not dare release sooner because of the risk of affecting a trial.
He was happy about the guilty plea, which would speed up the justice process.
However, Mr McNeil said he was still "really angry" and added: "We will never get Mum back. It's bloody hard -- a hell of a thing to go through."
Te Hiko had shown Mrs Dear no mercy and her son said he was glad suppression had been lifted allowing publication of the evidence of the case.
"Days like today bring things back. It's a lot to carry on working and bringing up kids."
Mr McNeil said he woke at 3am every day thinking of his mother's horrific last moments.
Mrs Dear's daughter Jan Armstrong said she was "not ecstatic" at the guilty plea because "Mum is still not here".
What she would like to do to the killer "the law doesn't allow".
In the courtroom, the judge held a hearing to decide whether media were entitled to publish evidence from the trial.
At the end of the hour-long hearing Justice Wild ruled publishing the evidence would not breach Te Hiko's right to a fair trial as he had now pleaded guilty.
The media has also been granted permission to publish video statements te Hiko made to the police.
The brutally beaten body of the dedicated schoolteacher, mother and grandmother was found on her classroom floor at Strathmore Primary School in Tokoroa about midday on Sunday July 16.
She had been at work preparing for the start of the new term next day.
- with NZPA