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Nz Murder Of Thai Woman


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Murder accused had known Thai woman for several years

17 November 2004

A 43-year-old Manurewa man accused of murdering his former landlady last month had worked for her for several years to pay off a debt but they were not friends, say police.

The man was arrested in Tokoroa last night after a member of the public called police with the vital information needed for a breakthrough.

He appeared in the Manukau District Court today charged with murdering Darunee Aphiromlerk, 49, a Thai-born New Zealand business woman who had several properties in Auckland.

He was granted interim name suppression and remanded in custody to reappear in Manukau District Court on December 1.

Ms Aphiromlerk's body was found in the Waikato River on October 21, nearly three weeks after she was last seen on October 3.

She had been wrapped in a duvet from her Manurewa home. A 29-inch television set was missing from her home and police said soon after her body was found, if they found the television, they would find the killer.

The man heading the hunt for the killer, Detective Senior Sergeant Gary Lendrum, announced today the television had been dismantled and bits of it were hidden in two houses by the people who had bought it after Ms Aphiromlerk's death.

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None of the people with the television knew the man accused of Ms Aphiromlerk's murder. Mr Lendrum said even though they did not know the accused man, the television was material evidence which they kept secret until police approached them.

Further charges could include accessory after the fact and receiving.

Mr Lendrum said the accused man had been evicted by Ms Aphiromlerk several years ago over a tenancy dispute but he maintained contact and continued to work for her to pay off his debt.

He said public help was invaluable but police were very disappointed several people knew who the killer was and had significant information but failed to provide that until police knocked on their doors.

"That is a disappointing aspect of the inquiry and perhaps an indictment on certain sections of the inquiry."

He said police could not discount further charges.

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