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Person of interest in baby Ru case in court on unrelated charges

Author
Melissa Nightingale,
Publish Date
Wed, 8 Nov 2023, 1:26PM

Person of interest in baby Ru case in court on unrelated charges

Author
Melissa Nightingale,
Publish Date
Wed, 8 Nov 2023, 1:26PM

A person of interest in the homicide of toddler Ruthless-Empire in Lower Hutt has had a sentencing for unrelated crimes put off until next year. 

Rosie Morunga appeared in the Hutt Valley District Court this afternoon for sentencing on two charges of common assault, one of wilful damage and one of shoplifting. 

Rosie Morunga is a person of interest in the homicide of baby Ruthless-Empire. Rosie Morunga is a person of interest in the homicide of baby Ruthless-Empire. 

Morunga entered the courtroom with a shirt wrapped around the lower half of her face, accompanied by a young woman. As she waited in the public gallery for her case to be called, she pulled the shirt up to cover the top of her head at times. 

Her partner Dylan Ross also entered the court and sat in the public gallery once her case was called. 

But Judge Arthur Tompkins today agreed to reschedule the sentencing to a later date. 

He also declined media applications to film and photograph Morunga in court, referring to defence lawyer Paul Knowsley’s memorandum opposing the applications. 

Ruthless-Empire Ahipene-Wall was days away from his second birthday when he was killed. Ruthless-Empire Ahipene-Wall was days away from his second birthday when he was killed. 

Morunga is one of the three people police have been speaking to in relation to the death of nearly-2-year-old Ruthless-Empire Ahipene-Wall, who died as a result of blunt force trauma he suffered at Morunga’s Taitā home. 

Morunga, her partner Dylan Ross, and Ruthless-Empire’s mother Storm Wall were all living at the property when the child was fatally injured sometime between October 21 and 22. 

Known also as baby Ru, the boy was taken to Hutt Hospital on the morning of October 22, but was pronounced dead shortly after. Police believe his severe injuries occurred up to 12 hours before he was taken to hospital. 

No arrests have been made yet, but police said they had three people of interest they were speaking to with “varying degrees” of engagement. 

Dylan Ross, Rosie Morunga and Storm Angel Wall were all living at the Poole St house with baby Ru at the time of his fatal injuries. Dylan Ross, Rosie Morunga and Storm Angel Wall were all living at the Poole St house with baby Ru at the time of his fatal injuries. 

One of those people is Morunga, who posted to social media a week ago that she was set to give a second interview to police and “defend myself and speak the truth”. 

She took to Instagram saying she knew people had opinions on what had happened. 

“Once me n my partner go in for our second interview and then the ones that have loved and supported us through this time will finally be able to explain and show our evidence to use for the rest carry on having your opinions,” she wrote. 

“Not been able to speak on social media to defend ourselves hurts yes its fkd up what happened but know that their will be justice for baby ru [sic].” 

Morunga said she was not hiding and the police knew where she and her partner were and had their numbers. 

Regarding her second interview, she said it was “time for our turn and for all u fake whanau members acting like use cared [sic]”. 

“I see your comments I see your fakeness and once I can finally defend myself and speak the truth I don’t even want an apology thanks to the real whanau members love us love use forever [sic].” 

Morunga and Ross have not responded to requests for comment. 

Baby Ru is believed to have been injured up to 12 hours before he was pronounced dead.Baby Ru is believed to have been injured up to 12 hours before he was pronounced dead. 

Wall told the Herald she had not been the one to put Ru to bed that night. 

She claimed that on the evening of October 21, one of the people in the home told her to go to bed and they would look after Ruthless-Empire. 

About 10pm he was put into her bed. Wall said he “looked normal”. 

“I just gave him a last hug, just checking he’s all right.” 

When she woke the next morning, she said the toddler was “drowsy”. 

“I thought he was tired.” 

Wall was getting ready to go and visit a cousin when she heard noises in the house. She claimed she was then told Ruthless-Empire was choking. 

She said she tried doing first aid, “to see if he could get any form of phlegm or anything out and therefore he was getting his grasp of breath”. 

It was then that she took him to hospital. 

Wall denied any involvement in her son’s death, saying she wanted “justice for my RuRu”. 

Melissa Nightingale is a Wellington-based reporter who covers crime, justice and news in the capital. She joined the Herald in 2016 and has worked as a journalist for 10 years. 

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