The man accused of murdering Lois Tolley has appeared in court for a second time.

An arrest was made in the Upper Hutt cold case last month after nearly three years of police investigation.

Tolley was the victim of an execution-style killing in December 2016 when four people smashed their way into her home.

The 27-year-old charged with her murder appeared in the High Court at Wellington this morning where interim name suppression was continued until his next appearance.

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The public gallery was packed with Tolley's family members and friends, all wearing T-shirts reading "Justice for you Loie".

Tolley's parents Cathrine and Rodney MacDonald flew from Australia for the appearance.

Family spokesperson and Tolley's Aunt Lorraine Duffin and Tolley's mother Cathrine MacDonald outside of court. Photo / Emme McKay
Family spokesperson and Tolley's Aunt Lorraine Duffin and Tolley's mother Cathrine MacDonald outside of court. Photo / Emme McKay

There were sobs when the accused came into the courtroom.

Justice Simon France said the man had to find a new lawyer, so adjourned the matter for a month.

The Lower Hutt man also faces charges of assaulting with intent to rob, while armed with a shotgun, and a charge of entering Tolley's Ward St flat while armed with intent to commit an imprisonable offence.

Outside court, a family spokesperson read a statement on behalf of Tolley's parents.

They thanked Operation Archer team, the mayor of Upper Hutt Wayne Guppy and victim support.

"To all of the public who have given information and support. We so appreciate everything you have done,

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"To everyone who is withholding information we implore you to think about if this was your daughter, granddaughter, niece, aunty, cousin - what would you want? Would you want us to stay silent or to help you?

"Another journey of this heinous crime is now starting."

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With an arrest made, Inspector Scott Miller last month said police would be going back to people already spoken to in this investigation.

He said the investigation team would continue to "actively pursue other suspects".

"We are pleased that this arrest will help bring some closure to Lois' family and the Upper Hutt community."

Detective Senior Sergeant Glenn Barnett, the officer in charge of the investigation, also said he was pleased there had been an arrest.

Barnett said his team had been working continuously since Tolley's death nearly three years ago and there had been some planning go into the arrest.

Police have previously said they believed at least four people were involved in the homicide.

A group of four males were captured on CCTV camera fleeing the crime scene.

As the attackers escaped, one of them was heard swearing and yelling, "Oh my God, what have we done?"

A neighbour in the block of flats next to Tolley's found her body. She had heard Tolley screaming.

A year after Tolley's death police had said they had narrowed the suspect list to 12.

They were either directly involved in committing the murder, helped plan the attack on Tolley, or assisted the killers after the murder, police said on the first anniversary of the death.

The police investigation team had worked through more than 130 people of interest at that stage.

Tolley's mother previously told the Herald she had no doubt her daughter's killers would be caught.

She described her daughter as a beautiful, caring person who was "very much loved by so many".

"We miss Lois so much, this has devastated our family and her friends, they stole her future from her and all of us."