Murphy murder-accused appears in court

Murphy murder-accused appears in court

The 51-year-old man accused of killing Lance Murphy shouted abuse at the dead man's family during a brief court appearance today.

He's been granted interim name suppression and remanded in custody without plea.

It took three weeks between Mr Murphy being seen alive at a Warkworth petrol station and his body being discovered, discarded in a rural setting with apparently no effort made to disguise it.

A 51-year-old man is charged with killing him sometime between November 21 and 23.

Family and friends of both the accused and the murdered man sat on opposite sides of the court during the short-but-tense appearance.

The accused yelled at a man in the public gallery, saying, "This is what happens when you want to kill me." He pulled down his jersey to show a tattoo on his chest, swore and did the fingers before he was taken back to the cells.

Someone in the public gallery muttered back "bastard". Outside court a man who says he's Mr Murphy's brother told 3 News his death was not about drugs.

Meanwhile, police are still looking for Steve Gunbie.

Gunbie, who has a criminal history including firearms charges, is what police call a person of interest.

The murdered man's Mazda, with his blood inside, was found at Gunbie's place two-and-a-half weeks ago.

Late last week police searched an area near Makarau, north of Auckland, and on Friday Mr Murphy's body was discovered at a different location in Makarau.

The Gunbie family says it's co-operating fully with the investigation team.

Police are also now appealing for sightings of a white Mitsubishi Pajero in the area of Noakes Hill, where they were searching last week.

3 News