November 30, 2023

Man charged with manslaughter, burglary, aggravated assault over Linda Woods homicide

Watch: A man has been charged with manslaughter, burglary and aggravated assault over the death of Northland woman Linda Woods at her Kaikohe home.

A man has been charged in connection with the death of Northland woman Linda Woods in Kaikohe last week.

Police on Tuesday morning conducted a search warrant at a nearby property in Kaikohe and found a 52-year-old male there.

He was taken into custody without incident, police said, and has been spoken to by the investigation team. He was charged with manslaughter, burglary, and aggravated assault and is due to appear in the Kaikohe District Court on Wednesday.

Detective Inspector Rhys Johnston of Northland CIB said police are not looking for anyone else in relation to the death, but they have a large amount of inquiry work to continue with over coming days.

“I would like to thank the community for their cooperation throughout this investigation, particularly those who contacted the team to provide information,” he said.

Det Insp Johnston said police know the community will have many questions about the person taken into custody, but there are “a number of aspects” they can’t comment on.

“What we can say is that we are pleased to have brought a resolution for Linda’s whānau,” he said.

“Her death was a tragedy, and we know that this has been felt deeply throughout the community.”

He added that police hope the arrest will bring some comfort to Woods’ family and the wider Kaikohe community.

Since this case is now before the court, he said police can’t give any further information.

The arrest brings an end to a multi-day search for the suspect, which has devastated the Kaikohe community.

Woods was seriously injured during a struggle with the intruder at around 11:30pm on Thursday, June 1. Despite efforts from emergency services, she died at the scene.

It’s believed the home invasion started as a “sexually motivated burglary” and police said the suspect was discovered hiding in one of the occupant’s bedrooms before fleeing the scene on foot, leaving behind some shoes and clothing.

The arrest comes after Det Insp Johnston said officers were going door-to-door to collect DNA samples. 

On Monday, it was revealed police had collected a DNA profile from the scene believed to be linked to the offender. 

Det Insp Johnston told AM that Woods’ family is hanging in there despite the difficult circumstances, but her grandchildren are “extremely traumatised”. 

“They’ve lost their loved one, their nana, but they are a fantastic family,” Det Insp Johnston said on Tuesday. “They’ve been so good to us and helping us with our investigation. My heart goes out to them for their loss but also I commend them for not only their bravery on the night but their resilience since then.”

He wouldn’t go into details about the way Woods died but said she was “quite vulnerable”, as she was older and a dialysis patient.   

He said Woods’ death has shaken the community.

“This is a fairly major crime for a small community like this and the community is really feeling it,” he told AM. 

“What we’d ask is people consider Linda and her whānau and help us resolve this case and bring some peace back to our local community.” 

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