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Kaikohe woman Linda Woods killed after struggle with intruder

A police officer stands guard at the Taraire St home as a homicide investigation is ongoing.Photo/Peter de Graaf

A neighbor of the Kaikohe home where a woman died in an apparent burglary said she heard screams and loud crashes before police arrived just before midnight.

Police announced that a stand-up media briefing on the homicide investigation will be held at Kaikohe Police Station at 5.15pm.

Emergency services were called to a property on Taraire St about 11.30pm on Thursday after reports of intruders entering the property.

NZME understands one woman, Kaikohe dialysis patient Linda Woods, was critically injured in the ensuing struggle between the resident and the intruder, who died at the scene despite the efforts of emergency services.

Police have launched a homicide investigation.

Police guarded the property overnight, with a large number of frontline officers, detectives and forensic experts arriving at the property on Friday morning.

As of press time, the culprit was still unknown and police had released few details about the victim.

The incident happened at a tidy house with a well-maintained garden, one of four houses on a shared road in paddocks on the northern edge of town.

A close neighbor, who did not want to be named, said she was woken up by her child sometime before midnight when she heard screaming and a loud bang as if something had fallen to the ground. Then she heard someone calling for help.

“I thought about going out, but I just had my baby. My Tan is gone, but he’ll pass.”

The police arrived in no time.

The house was occupied by an older woman whom neighbors called “Nan” and two women in their 20s, possibly her mokopuna.

For the first two nights, her dog had been “walking away” as if an intruder was coming, but due to the weather, she brought him into the house that night.

She said she was “very angry” knowing someone had hurt her neighbor and ran away.

One of the women in the house has a health problem so the nurse visits regularly.another neighbor told promote She is on dialysis.

Detectives and a crime scene officer arrived at the Taraire St home, where a homicide investigation is ongoing.Photo/Peter de Graaf
Detectives and a crime scene officer arrived at the Taraire St home, where a homicide investigation is ongoing.Photo/Peter de Graaf

The man, who lives on the same road but also did not want to be named, saw three police cars, a fire truck and an ambulance when he was out at midnight.

Police would not say what happened, but when he turned on the radio in the morning, he learned that someone had been injured and died.

“It’s usually pretty quiet here. It’s the most action I’ve seen here in a while.”

A steady stream of cars could be seen driving past the property throughout Friday morning as locals checked to see if the victim was someone they knew.

Kaikohe community leader Jay Hepi lives
Kaikohe community leader Jay Hepi lives “just down the road” at his Taraire St home where a homicide investigation is ongoing.Photo/Peter de Graaf

Community leader Jay Hepi said he lives down the road and knows the family involved.

“It’s a shock for neighbors to wake up to, especially for the wider family.”

Burglaries, auto thefts and violent crimes have long occurred because the area is understaffed with police officers, Herpy said.

“There’s only so much they can do. I believe it’s time for the community, iwi and hapū to step up. We can’t leave things to the police and expect them to figure it out themselves.”

Some people think they can do as they please, as they please, Herpy said.

“It’s gotten to a stage where it’s free for everyone in this town. There are no consequences. We have to stand up and say this is not going to happen again.”

Police spoke to neighbors on Taraire Street. Photo/Peter de Graaf
Police spoke to neighbors on Taraire Street. Photo/Peter de Graaf

Far North Kahika (Mayor) Moko Tepania, who lives just blocks from Kaikohe’s main street, said the community was shocked by the “terrible” news.

“Honestly, it’s kind of scary. I live in Kekohe myself, it’s my home. We have a very tight-knit community and obviously the residents are going to be as shocked by this as I am,” he said.

“I want to send my condolences to the whānau and I want to send my aroha to everyone.”

Tepania said people in Kaikohe don’t usually lock their doors, so the incident was a “warning message” to stay safe at home.

“What happened is very tragic. We need to be extra careful.”

He also urged anyone who felt affected to seek support.

Linda Bracken, vice president of the Kekohe Business Association, said the death “shocked the entire community.”

While the exact circumstances were unclear, she said there had been an increase in street drug or alcohol use at night.

“The mental health of people in this area could be better. The association is working on a safer Kaikohe Together project to push people off the streets,” she said.

She said bringing in more Māori guards could be one way to make the streets safer.

Former NZ First MP Shane Jones, who has family ties to Kaikohe, described the woman’s death as a family tragedy that would spark outrage in the community.

“Whatever the circumstances, I join whānau in mourning the loss of life.”

A week earlier, he had chaired a public meeting in Kaikohe on policing and personal safety.

“It is deeply disturbing that this brutal incident took place. It casts a dark, sad cloud over the whole of the Northland, but I am outraged and pained firsthand.”

Attendees all expressed their fear, loss of faith in police toughness and a sense that “simple community morality has been broken,” Jones said.

An example is the women’s gym which was burned down by a drunk man on May 24th.

Jones said he knew the whānau and Taraire St communities firsthand.

He blamed gangs and the degeneration of society for the criminal’s “brutal behaviour”.

The investigation is being led by Detective Inspector Rhys Johnston from Northland CIB.

He said police were working to determine what happened and had spoken to witnesses to identify and locate people who left the scene before police arrived.

Police were knocking on doors on Taraire Street throughout Friday.

It is expected that the property will be blessed by the local kaumātua once the police have completed their inspection.

Additional reporting by Imran Ali and the NZ Herald

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