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Otago University graduation threats: Accused ‘wanted to surpass mosque attacks’ – police

A woman charged with making security threats that disrupted University of Otago graduation ceremonies wanted to carry out an attack surpassing the Christchurch mosque shootings, police allege.

The 22-year-old appeared in the Auckland District Court today charged with threatening harm to people or property.

She has been granted interim name suppression and must surrender her passport and stay at her parents’ home at all times unless attending a medical appointment, TVNZ reported.

The threats, first made on December 9, led to the cancellation of graduation ceremonies for Otago University and Otago Polytechnic, affecting thousands of graduands.

Announcing the woman’s arrest this morning, Southern District Commander Superintendent Paul Basham said the university and wider Dunedin community would be relieved.

Basham acknowledged Vice Chancellor Harlene Hayne, her team and the university community for the resilience they had shown during “an incredibly trying time”.

“I also want to acknowledge the tireless efforts of both the investigation team, and the members of our staff who have been working in the community providing reassurance.”

Hayne said the university was hugely appreciative of police who had worked “tirelessly” to achieve a result.

As the matter was before the courts, police would not comment any further.

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