Suspect in suitcase murder case pleads not guilty in New Zealand

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A 42-year-old mother accused of killing her two children and stashing their bodies in suitcases that were later sold at auction entered a plea of not guilty in a New Zealand court Wednesday, after her extradition from South Korea.

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The accused did not appear during Wednesday’s brief hearing at Auckland High Court, but her defense lawyer Christopher Wilkinson-Smith entered two not-guilty pleas on her behalf.

Justice Sally Fitzgerald set a trial date for April 2024 with four weeks set aside for the hearing.

At her first court appearance in Auckland two weeks ago, the day after her extradition from Seoul, it was confirmed the accused is the mother of the deceased children.

Court suppression orders bar the media from naming the woman or her deceased children.

The woman was arrested by Korean police in the port city of Ulsan in September, a month after her children’s remains were discovered in New Zealand hidden in two suitcases.

An unsuspecting family had bought the suitcases among other items in an online auction of abandoned goods from a south Auckland storage unit.

At the time of her arrest in Korea, the woman repeatedly told reporters “I didn’t do it” as she was bundled into a police car.

New Zealand police believe the two children were aged between five and 10 at the time of death.

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