The Auckland University student accused of attacking a 35-weeks pregnant woman with a Taser in the United States was a "good student" who has completed four years of a medical degree, university sources said today.

But Christine Renee DeVaux - who emigrated to New Zealand from the United States in 2004 and worked for Standards New Zealand - is understood to have suffered head injuries when she went to Canada on a cycling holiday at the end of the 2009 academic year.

Her lawyer, Timothy Sullivan, told a US court hearing DeVaux was a medical student in New Zealand on a medical leave of absence from her studies after a bicycle accident.

Court documents filed after her arrest for the weekend attack at Damascus, about 65km northwest of Washington DC, said DeVaux snuck into the home of her boyfriend's pregnant daughter-in-law, shot her with a Taser and beat her, causing the woman to go into labour,

The victim, Lynae Mattson, 30, survived, and the court files said the New Zealand resident had been jealous of the unborn child she felt would steal the time and attention of her boyfriend, Bruce Mattson, 61, who is the baby's grandfather.

DeVaux, charged with attempted murder and other counts, has been refused bail because her strong contacts with New Zealand made her a flight risk. She is due back in court on July 2.

She gained a master's degree in economics from George Washington University, in Washington DC, and in 1997 began working as a standards specialist at National Institute of Standards and Technology, where Mr Mattson is the acting associate director of the Technology Services Laboratory.

She left briefly in 2000 to work at the US Information Technology Industry Council as an industry economist coordinating all standards-related activities with agencies in Oceania, Asia and the Middle East, including Standards New Zealand.

In 2004, she moved to New Zealand and worked for Standards NZ as its general manager of customer relations, then in 2006 enrolled in Auckland's medical school as a 33-year-old mature student with permanent residence in this country.

After her bicycle crash injuries in November 2009, she deferred her medical studies for 2010 and remained in the US, though today Auckland University was saying: "she is not currently enrolled as a student".

According to the US court documents, Mattson was Tasered and beaten for 30 minutes, but asked the Auckland student "if she really wanted to murder her and her unborn child."

DeVaux replied, "I never wanted it to come to this".

She refused Mrs Mattson's pleas to let her go: "You're going to press charges," Devaux said.

Police said she took a .22 calibre rifle, and 150 rounds of ammunition away from the scene and left them at Mr Mattson's home, about 14km away before going to a motel, where she was arrested.

- NZPA