The man accused of murdering Lois Tolley has pleaded not guilty.

The 27-year-old, whose name remains suppressed for the time being, entered the plea in the High Court at Wellington this morning.

Family members in the court sobbed and shook their fists as he entered the plea.

The man was charged with the Upper Hutt woman's murder in September, nearly three years after her death.

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

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.

At his last appearance in early October, Tolley's loved ones packed the public gallery, wearing T-shirts with her photo printed on them.

Outside the court after that appearance, a family spokesman read out a statement.

"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."

Family members showed up again today in printed shirts. Some loved ones appeared to begin crying when Justice Robert Dobson said name suppression would continue.

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Suppression will be addressed more fully at the case review hearing next year, Justice Dobson said.

He said he had doubts the grounds for name suppression would be strong enough for it to continue past that point.

The man's lawyer said the trial, set down for October next year, was "undoubtedly going to be complex and quite lengthy".

Police actively pursuing suspects

With an arrest made, Inspector Scott Miller earlier said police would be going back to people already spoken to by the investigation team.

Detectives would continue to "actively pursue other suspects".

Aunt Lorraine Duffin (left) and mother Cathrine MacDonald outside the Wellington High Court after an earlier appearance of a man charged with the murder of Lois Tolley. Photo / Emme McKay
Aunt Lorraine Duffin (left) and mother Cathrine MacDonald outside the Wellington High Court after an earlier appearance of a man charged with the murder of Lois Tolley. Photo / Emme McKay

Detective Senior Sergeant Glenn Barnett, the officer in charge of the investigation, 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 and 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.

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

Lois Tolley was murdered in an execution-style attack at her home in Upper Hutt nearly three years ago. Photo / Supplied
Lois Tolley was murdered in an execution-style attack at her home in Upper Hutt nearly three years ago. Photo / Supplied

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."