A man charged with the murder of a 69-year-old man found in the stairwell of an Auckland block of flats was released from an acute mental health unit only days earlier, according to two sources.

The man, who appeared in the Auckland District Court last week, was charged over the death of Michael David Mulholland. He was granted interim name suppression.

Two sources have told the Herald the man was released from Auckland District Health Board's acute mental health unit, Te Whetu Tawera, on the Friday or Saturday before Mulholland, 69, was found in a stairwell in a block of flats in Western Springs on Tuesday night last week.

One source said the man was a patient at the unit and released on Friday or Saturday night. A second source said the man was a patient and probably released to respite care on the Friday.


An Auckland District Health Board spokeswoman said they had spoken to the police and at this time "they have asked we refer any inquiries relating to this investigation to them".

The police said they were unable to answer questions about the man being released from the unit "as this is currently before the courts".

Last week, the man's lawyer, Annabel Cresswell, said the accused would not seek bail but requested interim name suppression.

Judge Margaret Rogers granted interim name suppression and said it would be reviewed when the man reappeared in the High Court at Auckland next month.

The accused stood in the dock with his head bowed and his eyes to the floor throughout the hearing.

Police were called to the flats on Great North Rd at 11pm on September 26 after Mulholland's body was found in a stairwell.

The 69-year-old lived in one of the flats.

Detective Inspector Scott Beard said Mulholland had suffered a violent attack.


The police investigation is ongoing.