Crime spree sentencing moved to High Court

William John Murphy (3 News)
William John Murphy (3 News)

The sentencing of a man who went on a month-long, violent crime spree targeting elderly women across the North Island will now take place at the High Court, it has been decided.

District Court judge Christopher Field ruled to move William John Murphy's sentencing after the Crown indicated it would seek preventive detention for him.

The District Court does not have the jurisdiction to impose that sentence, something Judge Murphy said was worth considering as Murphy has a history of offending.

Judge Field said Murphy was considered 'on the knife-edge' for preventive detention when he was convicted of four indecent assaults and a burglary in 2007 but instead received a finite sentence.

Earlier this month Murphy was found guilty of 15 charges including theft, burglary and aggravated robbery. During his crime spree, Murphy robbed four elderly women in their homes, using a knife in one of the cases.

He was found by police hiding in mangroves in Puhoi, north of Auckland, in June 2013 after the series of robberies, which took place during May and June of that year.

During his trial the court heard that in another case Murphy had broken into the house of a 79-year-old woman in Auckland tying her up and demanding her credit cards and PIN numbers when she came home to find him there.

He appeared in the Auckland District Court via audio visual link this morning.

He will next appear in court in October.

3 News