Mental health assessment ordered for man accused of murdering Lena Zhang Harrap

He will reappear before the court in December.
He will reappear before the court in December. Photo credit: Starjam.

The man accused of murdering Lena Zhang Harrap will undergo a mental health assessment to determine whether he is fit to stand trial.

Harrap, 27, was found dead on September 22 in bush off a walkway near Mt Albert's Ōwairaka Domain in central Auckland. She had been out for a morning walk, but failed to return home. In the days following her death, a 31-year-old man was charged with her murder and sexual violation.

The man, whose name is currently suppressed, appeared before the Auckland High Court on Wednesday via video link. A Section 38 assessment of his fitness to stand trial has been ordered.

Justice Sally Fitzgerald remanded the man in custody and he will reappear before the court on December 15.

Last week, Det Snr Sgt Geoff Baber issued a plea for anyone who used the Mt Albert walkway between Grande Ave and Summit Dr on the morning of Harrap's death, Wednesday September 22, to come forward. 

He said extensive CCTV enquiries had led police to identify 29 people who walked through the walkway between 7:30am and 10:10am that day. But most of these people's identities are unknown to police, who want to speak to them. 

Anyone who used the walkway or was in the immediate vicinity around Grande Ave or Summit Dr at the time is asked to contact the investigation team on 0800 DALEYZA (0800 325 399) or phone 105, quoting file number 210922/0539.

Late in September, police asked the public for any sightings of a white 2004 Hyundai station wagon with registration EGZ962 which was used by the alleged offender. It has distinctive brown tape around the left rear window.