More than 206,000 New Zealanders became victims of crime in 2016.

More than 36,700 were assaulted, 4068 were sexually assaulted, 2769 were robbed, 55,470 burgled and another 107,508 were the victims of theft or dishonesty offences.

Some cases received more attention than others; they were more vile, more violent, more tragic or more unbelievable.

Here are some of the high-profile cases that shocked the nation in 2016.


This story contains descriptions of the violence and abuse which could be upsetting. Please take care.

The death of Jo Pert

The man accused of murdering Remuera mother-of-two Jo Pert while she was jogging has been found not guilty by reason of insanity because he believed he was living in another world.

On January 9, Auckland mother-of-two Jo Pert was killed while out for her regular jog in Remuera.

Pert had been running on Shore Rd when she was approached and killed by Tevita Mafi Filo.

Later that day Filo indecently assaulted two women, then went to the Auckland Police Station and handed himself in.

On November 15 Filo was found not guilty by reason of insanity and detained indefinitely as a special patient.

The High Court at Auckland heard how, at the time of the attack, Filo was acutely psychotic and severely mentally unwell and suffered from several complex physical and mental health issues, complicated by possible long-term substance abuse.

Jo Pert. Photograph supplied.
Jo Pert. Photograph supplied.

Filo believed he was a god or king from another world, which he describes as the "real world", but he's been banished to an "artificial world" and must complete actions or missions to get back to the other world.

Psychiatric experts gave evidence that Filo didn't understand the true nature of his actions and when he turned himself in to police, he believed that would complete his mission and let him go back to the "real world".


Following the insanity ruling, Pert's parents said Filo's actions were "unforgivable" and
"selfish" and had left them with a huge hole in their lives and sleepless nights.

"Mr FIlo has left us angry and unable to forgive him for this heinous crime.

"The horrendous death of our most beautiful, most talented, highly intellectual, much loved sister, wonderful mother of two beautiful children has left an open wound in our hearts which will never heal over.

"Every minute, every hour, every day Jo is in our hearts."

Ross Bremner - triple murder-suicide

Family and friends gathered as the bodies of Mona Tuwhangai, 82, and Maurice O'Donnell,72, were removed from their home in the tiny coastal community of Kinohaku.

In October, Ross Bremner killed his mother, wounded his father and murdered another elderly couple before taking his own life.

It later emerged that Bremner, 34, was a mental health patient and had been struggling in the lead-up to the triple murder.

He fatally stabbed his mother, Claire, 60, at the family home in Otorohanga and injured his father Ross, 64.

Despite a police manhunt, Bremner was found dead four days later alongside elderly couple Mona Tuwhangai, 80, and Maurice O'Donnell, 72, inside their Kawhia Harbour home.

Ross Bremner. Photograph/NZ Police.
Ross Bremner. Photograph/NZ Police.

The couple's daughter Jo Kukutai later told the


that her parents meant the world to her.

"They gave me an abundance of opportunities and imparted in me a significant amount of life lessons," she said.

"Our hearts go out to the Bremners for their loss."

Kukutai called for an urgent review into mental health care, which the Waikato District Health Board is undertaking.

"While it is too late for my family, it is my hope that, if the review highlights any systemic issues that need addressing, that these matters are corrected promptly to minimise the risk of such devastation to future families," Kukutai said.

The fatal shooting of Amokoura Daniels-Sanft

Name suppression is lifted on the man police believe is responsible for the death of 2 year-old Amokura Daniels-Sanft

In early June a little girl was playing in the driveway of her Mangere home.

It was there that she was fatally shot, allegedly by her father.

Amokoura Daniels-Sanft was just 2 years old and died from a gunshot wound to her head at close range.

Her father, Gustav Otto Sanft, was later charged with her manslaughter as well as unlawful possession of a pistol and alleged drug offending.

It is understood that after an extensive investigation, police did not believe Sanft intended to shoot or kill the child, which is why he was charged with manslaughter rather than murder.

Amokoura was born on February 15, 2014 and was one of four children who had been living at a Favona Rd home with Sanft and their mother, Julia Daniels.

The couple were in the process of moving the day the toddler was shot dead.

Neighbours said they heard a "loud explosion" followed by hysterical sobbing.

Police confirmed Amokoura was killed with a sawn-off shotgun, classified as a pistol under the Arms Act.

Sanft has pleaded not guilty to all charges and will go on trial this year.

Career criminal strikes again

Gwenda Bush, 63, at sentencing in the North Shore District Court in August. Photograph by Doug Sherring.
Gwenda Bush, 63, at sentencing in the North Shore District Court in August. Photograph by Doug Sherring.

In August the


reported that one of the

, according to police, had been sentenced to home detention.

For 12 years North Shore woman Gwenda Bush put her hand out to the Salvation Army for help.

She was given food, furniture and clothing to the tune of $6000.

But every sob story was a lie, fabricated so she could rort the system and rip off the charity.

The 63-year-old has at least 615 dishonesty convictions to her name filling 57 pages of a court file, for using fabricated sob stories to rip off charities.

At sentencing Judge Jonathan Down said Bush had "the most appalling record of dishonesty offending" he had ever seen.

"It seems that most of your adult life has been punctuated by trips to prison, and funded by dishonest behaviour and conduct," Judge Down said.

"To look at you now, one wouldn't even begin to believe that this is your history. I had to take a double look at this list of convictions because I was so shocked by the contrast between what I see and what I read.

"[You have] 57 pages of convictions, mostly for dishonesty ... the worst list of previous convictions I have ever seen in 35 years in the criminal justice system.

Bush avoided prison simply because Judge Downs did not think it would make a difference to her.

"She has been sent to prison so many times in the past it hasn't made any difference," he said.

The couple who killed Moko

This afternoon on NZ Herald Focus we take a look at the Justice for Moko rallies held at courthouses around the country today for the sentencing of his killers and Pope Francis has suggested an apology is needed from the Catholic Church to marginalized groups.

In August 2015 a little boy named Moko became a household name in New Zealand.

The 3-year-old arrived at a hospital emergency department so badly injured that he did not survive.

He had bite marks on his face, his tummy was protruding unnaturally and he was covered from head to toe in bruises and abrasions.

At 10pm on August 10, 2015, Moko Rangitoheriri was pronounced dead.

A post-mortem examination revealed that Moko died as a result of "multiple blunt force traumas".

He had lacerations and hemorrhaging deep within his abdomen, historic bruising and damage to his bowel. Combined, that resulted in his bowel rupturing. Fecal matter leaked into Moko's abdomen, causing septic shock.

His brain was swollen, he had blood clots under his scalp representing numerous injuries inflicted at different times in the lead-up to his death.

There was evidence the toddler had been smothered.

Moko Rangitoheriri died after weeks of abuse at the hands of his caregivers. Photograph/supplied.
Moko Rangitoheriri died after weeks of abuse at the hands of his caregivers. Photograph/supplied.

The couple who were caring for him in the weeks leading up to his death, friends of his mother, were charged over his death.

Last June, David Haerewa and Tania Shailer were jailed, receiving the longest sentence for child manslaughter in New Zealand history.

The Herald later reported that Haerewa had racked up 111 convictions before he killed Moko and had been in and out of prison since 1991.

His offending included burglary, wilful damage, possession of a knife in a public place, contravening a protection order, male assaults female, aggravated robbery, breach of parole, theft, receiving stolen property, escaping custody and a raft of driving charges and bail breaches.

Shailer had been convicted six times before she was jailed for her part in Moko's death.

Her first offence was not until 2012. All of her convictions were for shoplifting.

Both Shailer and Haerewa have appealed their sentences.

The $500 million meth ring

Northland police seized a record haul of methamphetamine with approx NZ street value of $448 million. Photograph/NZ Police.
Northland police seized a record haul of methamphetamine with approx NZ street value of $448 million. Photograph/NZ Police.

It was like something out of a Hollywood blockbuster.

More than 500 kilograms of methamphetamine was found in a campervan and buried in sand dunes at idyllic 90 Mile Beach near Ahipara in June.

Seven men would be arrested in connection with the record-breaking haul, but it was the local who brought them down who was the star of the news show.

The man, whom the Herald agreed not to name, was contacted by some of the accused and asked to help them launch a boat off the iconic beach.

He agreed but soon began to suspect they were up to no good.

He contacted the police and within minutes of an officer arriving at his home, one of the alleged offenders drove past.

He was captured near the golf course and his mates were spotted in the meth-laden campervan soon after by an off-duty cop on his way home.

One of the seven pleaded guilty and in November was sentenced to 12 years in prison.
The other accused will all stand trial this year on charges including importing methamphetamine.

More arrests likely in record meth seizure
'My heart was pumping': The man who brought down a $500 million meth ring

Bound and gagged - the death of Jindarat Prutsiriporn

Jindarat Prutsiriporn died from her injuries after falling from a moving car bound and gagged in Auckland in March. Photograph/NZ Police. WAG 05Mar16 -
Jindarat Prutsiriporn died from her injuries after falling from a moving car bound and gagged in Auckland in March. Photograph/NZ Police. WAG 05Mar16 -

It was a horrific event: A bound and gagged woman leapt from the boot of a moving car in suburban Auckland on March 1.

That woman was later identified as Thai national Jindarat Prutsiriporn, a mother-of-three who moved to New Zealand more than 30 years ago.

She had used a metal rod to jemmy open the boot and make her bid for freedom.

Then, with her hands and feet tied and strips of fabric and a man's tie wound tightly around her neck, she managed to escape.

She died later in Middlemore Hospital, however, her injuries too severe to survive.

Prutsiriporn had been in and out of prison in New Zealand for drug offending, had gang connections and her friends would later reveal she died poor and lonely, owing a lot of money and without any support.

In May police announced they had charged nine people, all men, with the woman's death.

Five are facing manslaughter and kidnapping charges, the rest in relation to the abduction.

The accused were arrested after search warrants were executed at 13 addresses across Auckland and include members of the Head Hunters gang.

Elderly woman murdered in "burglary gone wrong

Police have named the elderly woman who died in a "burglary gone wrong" in her home in Te Atatu Peninsula, West Auckland, yesterday. She was Cun Xiu Tian, aged 69. Police say it is too early to say if Mrs Tian knew who was responsible.

The community, and country, reeled after 69-year-old Cun Xiu Tian was murdered in the Te Atatu home where she lived with her son and family.

It was her family who found her body when they returned to their home after being out for the day on January 15.

It later emerged that Tian was beaten to death and sexually violated, then left where she lay.

West Auckland teenager Jaden Lee Stroobant was charged with her murder and will go on trial in February.

He has pleaded not guilty.

Tian's death sparked a massive police investigation dubbed Operation Nepal.

Twenty-five investigators and a number of criminal profilers were part of the team who spent hours looking for Tan's killer.

69-year-old Cunxiu Tian was found dead at her Te Atatu home in January. Photograph/supplied NZ Police.
69-year-old Cunxiu Tian was found dead at her Te Atatu home in January. Photograph/supplied NZ Police.

Police have said the attack was violent and prolonged and initially labelled it as a

Detective Senior Sergeant Roger Small said Tian's death was a "shocking tragedy".

The carjacking of Nancy Voon

Nancy Voon was viciously attacked and had her car stolen. Her family are shocked at the brutality of the attackers

Nancy Voon, 65, was waiting for her son in her car in Panmure during the daytime when she was brutally attacked.

Voon was dragged from her vehicle in the YMCA carpark and beaten by a group of teenage girls.

"They left her there to die" her son Chee Phua told the Herald. "There was blood everywhere. All her clothes and the hospital sheets were all bloody."

Voon was taken to Auckland City Hospital Emergency Department unconscious with concussion, broken teeth, a fractured nose and bruising around the face and body.

She survived the attack.

Nancy Voon lies in her bed in intensive care at Auckland City Hospital. Photograph/supplied.
Nancy Voon lies in her bed in intensive care at Auckland City Hospital. Photograph/supplied.

After police released footage of the incident they were able to arrest three teenage girls.

Lily Pritchard-Davis, 17, was charged with aggravated robbery, theft and two charges of unlawfully taking a motor vehicle.

She is still before the courts.

Two others were identified but are under the age of 17 so would appear in the Youth Court.

Police thanked the public after the arrest, which was not possible without the help of keen-eyed Kiwis.

They said after the footage was released hundreds of people came forward.

"The public and media assistance we received has got us to this point," a spokeswoman said.

"We had dozens of calls with information, as well as many private messages to our Facebook page. Hundreds of people shared the link to the Facebook video, and this in turn ensured that as many people as possible saw the CCTV footage.