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Woman In Court Accused Of Neighbour's Murder

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, Feb 18 NZPA - A 43-year-old woman appeared in court today facing a new charge of murder after a disabled neighbour she allegedly assaulted at the weekend died last night.

Ana Andrea Hemara, 43, entered no plea in Wanganui District Court this afternoon to murdering cerebral palsy sufferer Heather Simons on Sunday. The two women were neighbours in Titoki Street.

Hemara was remanded in custody until March 3 for a psychiatric report following a one minute hearing.

Ms Simons, 44, who is survived by her 13-year-old daughter, was brutally assaulted in the early hours of Sunday morning.

She died from severe head injuries last night when her life support machine was turned off in Wellington Hospital.

Hemara was originally accused of assaulting Ms Simons.

Her boyfriend, Michael Douglas Christison, 22, is currently on bail after being charged with being an accessory to assault.

He is also due back in court in March 3.

Neighbours in Titoki St remembered Ms Simons as a devoted mother who spent most days volunteering at the Cancer Society and senior citizen groups.

Wanganui Cancer Society manager Wendy Paterson was stunned by the news. "She was such a lovely lady. She worked in our offices and always helped with Daffodil Day and Relay for Life. She never said no," she told the Stuff website.

"I spoke to her daughter and all I could say was, `Who would want to do that to your mother?"'

The death is a double blow for the family as Ms Simons' father died last week.

It is understood Housing New Zealand had just offered her a home in a new, safer, area of Wanganui.

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