Christchurch Airbnb party death: Emotions, anger run high at appearance for alleged murderer of Zion Purukamu

The family of fatally stabbed Zion Purukamu have erupted in anger as the youth accused of his murder made his first appearance in court today.

The mother of Zion, 16, had to be stopped by police officers from approaching the accused youth.

Other family members hurled abuse and threats in the courtroom.

Zion died after being injured at a party in Fendalton on Friday night.

Two other youths were also stabbed – one aged just 14 and the other 17 – and are in a serious condition in Christchurch Hospital.

Last night a youth was interviewed by police and then charged with murdering Zion and wounding the other teenagers with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

Judge Jane McMeekan presided over the short court hearing today.

The accused pleaded not guilty to all charges through his lawyer Ethan Huda and elected a trial by jury.

That trial will be held in the High Court at Christchurch.

The accused was remanded in custody until his next appearance.

Youth Court rules prevent the Herald from reporting any further detail about the accused at this stage.

Stabbed teen's family visibly upset

Members of Zion’s family – including his parents and sister – were in court today to see the accused.

They were visibly upset and supported by a large number of police.

The grieving family screamed abuse and profanities at the alleged killer.

He stood firm in the dock staring at the them, making no movement or reaction as police held Zion’s family back.

“It should have been you who died,” yelled his mother.

“You’re dead … you’ll f**king die in there,” his sister said.

Police had to step in to stop Zion’s mother rushing at the dock. She was almost inconsolable.

The accused’s mother, uncle and grandmother were also in court.

They were also upset and remained silent during the intense hearing.

Police would not be drawn on the matter as it was before the courts.

They confirmed last night that Zion’s family was told before the arrest was announced.

The family thanked members of the public who provided information to the police leading up to the arrest.

The investigation is ongoing and police still want to speak to anyone with information about the alleged murder – especially anyone with photos or footage from the party at the address where the violence happened.

There were about 80 youths at the party, held at a house rented through Airbnb on Medbury Terrace.

Zion’s funeral will be held on Friday.

“Zion’s family would like to thank the wider Christchurch community for the support and aroha they have been shown over the past few days,” the family said in a statement provided by police yesterday.

“This continues to be an extremely difficult time for them as they plan ahead for Zion’s funeral.

“At this time, they are requesting privacy to focus their efforts on the funeral preparations.

“They would like to thank those who have come forward to share information with police and encourage anyone who is yet to come forward to please do so.”

Zion’s girlfriend took to social media to pay an emotional tribute to the slain teen.

“I’m so weak at this point, I feel so lost nothing will ever be the same,” said the teen- who the Herald will not identify – in a lengthy Instagram post.

“It feels like I lost the best part of me, from the beginning you held it down and stayed loyal – I wish I could’ve held you tighter the last time I saw you and told you how much you meant to me.

“You hold a place in my heart no one could ever replace.”

She said Zion was her world and made everything “so much better”.

“I’m gonna miss you holding me telling me you love me -the way you walked, talked, smiled, laughed – everything,” she wrote.

“You made me feel so comfortable all the time and you’d always listen to my problems, I feel like I can’t even stand on my own two feet anymore.

“I will forever be thankful for you my love always -I appreciate you more than anything and anyone.

“We’re all hurting.”

She later asked people to stop posting about Zion’s death if they did not know him or what happened on Friday.

She said it was upsetting to her and his family to see people posting about his alleged murder for “clout”.

The investigation, dubbed Operation Medbury, is ongoing.

“Thanks to the large number of cooperative people who’ve come forward, we’re confident we have a clear picture of what happened that night on Medbury Terrace,” said Detective Inspector Michael Ford.

“Investigators have also received both CCTV footage and cellphone images, which they are now in the process of reviewing.

“We would like to thank all of those people who acted on our request for information.

“This has proved to be extremely valuable.”

Do you know more?

Operation Medbury remains an active investigation and police still want to speak to people who were at the party when the incident occurred.

Anyone with information that could assist the investigation – or anyone who is yet to come forward is asked to contact police non-emergency number 105 and reference Operation Medbury.

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