Crime & Justice

Mother pleads not guilty in New Zealand in suitcase murder case

Sydney, Australia, Dec 14 (EFE).- A 42-year-old mother, extradited from South Korea last month, pleaded not guilty in a New Zealand court on Wednesday to the killings of her two sons, whose bodies were stowed in suitcases.

Defense attorney Christopher Wilkinson-Smith said his client, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, entered “not guilty” pleas to the murder charges during a hearing at Auckland City High Court, according to the New Zealand Herald newspaper.

The woman did not appear for the hearing presided over by Judge Sally Fitzgerald.

The judge set Apr. 29, 2024, for the trial, which will last four weeks.

Fitzgerald said the defendant, who appeared for the first time before the court on Nov. 30, a day after her extradition, must remain in prison until the next hearing scheduled for March 2023.

The South Korea-born woman, who had obtained a New Zealand passport after residing in the country, returned to her home country in the second half of 2018 without an exit record, according to police investigations.

She had since lived in Seoul and other locations before moving to an apartment in the town of Ulsan, some 300 km from the South Korean capital, earlier this year.

The bodies of the two children were found stashed in two suitcases in New Zealand in early August.

The suitcases were bought by an unsuspecting family in an online auction of abandoned goods from an Auckland storage unit.

Authorities believe that the remains of the two children, believed to be between five and 10 at the time of their murders, may have been in the suitcases for several years. EFE

wat/ssk

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