The mother of a 19-year-old accused of killing Te Atatu woman Cunxiu Tian told the Herald she was quizzed about her son's whereabouts for five hours.

She also spoke of armed police descending on her property just hours after 69-year-old Cunxiu Tian was found dead in her Glenvil Lane home last Friday.

The identity of the woman's son and any information that may identify him were suppressed in the Waitakere District Court yesterday when he appeared on a murder charge, as were details of the two sexual violation charges he faces.

The woman said she was at home sewing butterfly decorations on to a tutu belonging to her granddaughter - the accused's daughter - on the evening Mrs Tian's body was found last Friday.


"I was sitting here at the kitchen table and looked up and saw a policeman with a gun pointing at the house ... there was three of them lined up along the fence," she told the Herald the day after the killing.

She was taken to the police station and interviewed about her son's whereabouts for five hours.

Officers told her that they wanted to "eliminate him as a suspect".

When the accused appeared in court yesterday, he seemed agitated and repeatedly yelled out to his mother, who sat crying in the public gallery.

"All good, Mum. F*** them, eh, f*** the murder charge," he yelled.

He continued to mutter and swear throughout the appearance, at one point giving the fingers and yelling abuse to a television journalist.

The accused was arrested on Wednesday night and charged with murder and two counts of sexual violation, after a nearly six-day manhunt for the person responsible for Mrs Tian's violent and brutal death.

Judge David Mather remanded the man in custody without plea until February 10 when he will appear in the High Court at Auckland.

Police investigates the scene on Glenvil Lane, Te Atatu. Photo / Dean Purcell
Police investigates the scene on Glenvil Lane, Te Atatu. Photo / Dean Purcell

He was granted interim name suppression, and the summary of facts was also suppressed.

As the teen was led out of the dock by court security, a woman in the public gallery yelled an insult at him.

Meanwhile, at the address where court documents showed the accused living, residents were in shock yesterday.

They said the accused had lived with them for about 10 days late last year, when he came to stay with his mother who had also lived there for a short time.

"He was a ratbag, but I don't think he would ever go there, he just wouldn't have the guts," said one man who wished not to be named.

"I still don't believe he did it. We are a bit stunned and personally I think he was just a young impressionable guy who got involved with the wrong people."

Another man who wished not to be named said there had been a heavy police presence at the house over the weekend, and CCTV footage was given to help with police investigations.

"When someone gets murdered in New Zealand it's on the news and we pay attention.

"We paid particular attention because it's in the area and we paid even more attention when the police started coming around here," he said.

"They came around on a number of occasions and were asking about a particular person and what he was wearing."