The man charged with murdering 8-month-old Whanganui baby Bella Richardson in 2016 will keep his name secret for now.

The 25-year-old appeared in the High Court at Wellington this morning for his second appearance after being charged with Bella's murder last month.

He earlier had his first appearance in Masterton District Court, where Judge Barbara Morris granted him interim name suppression.

Defence lawyer at the time, Frank Minehan, said the incident was of "historic nature" and he was concerned for the man's mental health.


The charge would have come as "a deep shock" to his family, Minehan said.

The man's new lawyer, Christopher Stevenson, today said he had only just been assigned to the case and needed more time to address the issue of suppression.

Justice Simon France agreed to continue name suppression until callover in February.

He set a potential trial date for November next year. The defendant is meanwhile being held in custody.

Bella died at a property in Whanganui on November 7, 2016, and the accused is known but not related to her.

Detective Senior Sergeant Paul Baskett hoped the charge would bring some closure for Bella's family.

"This has been a protracted investigation due to the complex nature of the medical evidence," he said.

"I would like to thank all those who helped with the investigation."