A councillor for a small community rocked by a "disturbing" homicide has issued a warning to the perpetrators: "Give yourselves up before the police come and get you."

More than six months after the death of 58-year-old Roma Joseph, also known as Roma Midwood, in the Waikato town of Tirau, no arrests are forthcoming.

Joseph, a grandmother who lived alone, was discovered dead in her burnt out Little St home on May 1.

Police say she suffered a serious assault before the fire was lit, somewhere between 3am and 3.30am, but haven't revealed her cause of death.


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Neighbours who went to investigate 'thumping' noises heard in the night saw two men near Joseph's home, and witnessed a silver four door sedan drive away.

Security footage of a person walking past a Caltex service station in the area around the time of Joseph's death was screened on Police Ten 7 but the person hasn't been identified, nor has the silver car.

A neighbour previously told the Herald they saw the house was on fire and called Fire and Emergency, who arrived within minutes. One of the men who walked away from the home didn't appear to be in a hurry, the witness said.

The scene on Little St in Tirau, following a fatal house fire 01 May 2017 New Zealand Herald Photograph by Belinda Feek
The scene on Little St in Tirau, following a fatal house fire 01 May 2017 New Zealand Herald Photograph by Belinda Feek

Tirau councillor Peter Schulte told the Herald on Sunday residents were concerned for their safety, and was surprised no charges had been laid.

"There are pensioners who are living across the road. They are upset no arrests have been made. I think the whole Tirau community is upset that no arrest has been made," he said.

"Tirau people are very community minded. We protect one another. We look after each other. Something like this happens and it's very disturbing for all of us.

"If people have any knowledge, please come forward and let the police know. That would be amazing for the family, to give them closure."


And his message for the perpetrators: "Give yourselves up before the police come and get you."

He was confident the person or people responsible for Joseph's death weren't locals.

A said Joseph was "lovely" and "a very quiet lady" who had lived on the street for several years.

The woman said she heard thumps from Joseph's home the night she died but didn't think the sounds unusual, and was shocked to see officials at the home the following morning.

The street had returned to normality, she said. "There's nothing that we can do ourselves, but just let the police do what they need to do.

"Although it was an awful thing to happen I don't feel unsafe in any way."

Taupo area investigations manager Detective Senior Sergeant Matt Cranshaw said a team was actively working on the inquiry and were still pursuing information gleaned through a plea on Police Ten 7 in August.

He reassured the community the investigation was continuing and that residents shouldn't be frightened.

"We're a long way from giving up. We're still uncovering important pieces of information through speaking to various people even six months after. We're providing regular updates to (Roma's) family and they know we are doing what we can to resolve it."

He said Joseph was a much loved family woman whose death was "disturbing".

"It's extremely tragic. To kill someone in their house, in their own sanctuary, a defenceless woman...and to burn the house down with her inside. It's extraordinary. It's really quite disturbing."

Anybody with information is asked to contact the investigation team on 0800 766 211.

Even if people didn't think their information was helpful, it could make a difference, Cranshaw said.