Sudden plea change over murder of Rotorua woman
The man charged with the murder of Rotorua woman Patricia Wallis has been convicted after a sudden change of plea in front of a packed court gallery.
Michael Edward Douthett, 58, appeared at the High Court in Rotorua on Friday before Justice Graham Lang, speaking just twice, to confirm a guilty plea to one charge of murder and one charge of dangerous driving.
Patricia was killed on November 26 last year in Ngakuru, Rotorua.
Up until today Douthett had maintained a not guilty plea, and had also been subject to a number of psychiatric reports into his mental health and fitness to stand trial for the murder.
After the charges were read out, and Douthett replied "guilty" to each, Lang said "I now enter convictions on both charges".
Lang also read Douthett the three-strike warning.
Douthett was remanded in custody ahead of sentencing on August 29 this year.
Police launched a homicide inquiry after being called to a family harm incident at around 7.15am, arresting Douthett shortly afterwards.