Christchurch Airbnb party death: Teen accused of murdering Zion Purukamu back in court

The youth accused of murdering Christchurch teenager Zion Purukamu has made his first appearance in the High Court today.

Zion died after being injured at a party held at a rented property in Fendalton last month.

Two other youths were also stabbed – one aged just 14 and the other 17 – and were rushed to hospital in a serious condition.

Days later a 16-year-old was charged with murdering Zion and wounding the other teenagers with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

He appeared in the Youth Court before Judge Jane McMeeken the next day, where he entered not guilty pleas to all charges.

His name is suppressed.

At his first hearing his lawyer Ethan Huda entered the pleas for him and informed the court he elected a trial by jury.

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

He made his first appearance there via audio visual link from a youth justice facility this morning.

He was further remanded in custody until his next court hearing in a month.

His trial has been set for November next year.

At his first court appearance members of Zion’s family – including his parents and sister – were present and visibly upset.

The grieving family screamed abuse and profanities at the alleged killer and police had to step in and calm the situation.

“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 physically 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.

The night Zion died he was at the party with about 80 other youths – held at a house rented through Airbnb on Medbury Terrace.

Zion’s funeral was scheduled for Friday 20 August, days after the country was put back into a national lockdown in a bid to prevent the spread of the Delta variant of Covid-19.

His family said they did not want to speak to media about his death.

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.

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