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Police let Pert's killer go night before

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 15/11/2016

The man who killed jogger Jo Pert was pulled over by police for following someone with a knife in his car the night before the Auckland mother's death - but police let him go with a warning.

Mt Roskill man Tevita Mafi Filo, 25, was on Tuesday was found insane and will not stand trial for the fatal stabbing of 41-year-old Ms Pert while she was walking in the top-end suburb of Remuera in January.

Justice Murray Gilbert ruled Filo should instead be kept as a special patient in a secure psychiatric unit until he's deemed safe.

The court heard Filo suffered severe delusions and believed he was in a virtual reality in which Ms Pert was an avatar, with psychiatrist Mhairi Duff saying he believed he was doing "missions" to return to the real world when he killed her.

After the hearing, Detective Inspector Kevin Hooper told reporters the night before Ms Pert's death, Filo had been pulled over by police after a couple complained he had followed them from East Tamaki.

Officers searched Filo's car and confiscated a knife, but let him off with a road-side warning because there were no alerts on the police system.

"I am satisfied from what I know of the situation their decision was right," Det Insp Hooper said, adding Filo had told officers he had the knife for his own protection.

Filo fatally stabbed Ms Pert - a stranger to him - in the neck early the next morning, with a Remuera family finding her on their Shore Road lawn.

He originally also faced 12 other charges over events before and after the attack - including a series of trespasses, burglaries and possession of a weapon. All but two indecent assaults and the murder charge were withdrawn.

Det Insp Hooper described the offending against various strangers as random and said Filo's description of his intentions in subsequent interviews was "chilling".

In a statement, Ms Pert's parents - Kevin and Jan - said Filo's "unforgivable selfish action" had left them sleepless nights, cold sweats wondering about Ms Pert's last moments, and a "wound in our hearts which will never heal over".

"Mr Filo has left us angry and unable to forgive him for this heinous crime," they said.

Police have referred Ms Pert's death to the coroner.

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