Deaf community in mourning as man charged with Emma's murder

By Jarrod Booker

The deaf community wants to see someone pay for robbing them of one of their finest ambassadors after armed police swooped on an apartment complex yesterday and charged a man with murder.

In a day of dramatic events, police said they had found the body of deaf woman Emma Agnew, and armed officers knocked down a door and used minor explosives to arrest a man believed to be hiding out in Christchurch's Wigram Lodge.

The 35-year-old unemployed man was charged with the murder of Ms Agnew and will appear in court today - almost two weeks after the 20-year-old went missing and her car was found burned out in a Christchurch park.

The man charged was not known to Ms Agnew. Detective Inspector Tom Fitzgerald said the inquiry was not over and further charges were possible.

The deaf community had held out hopes Ms Agnew was still alive and were in shock yesterday.

"Today for the first time people have started to talk about who could it have been, who could have done it," said Deaf Association chief executive Rachel Noble.

"[They are] quite angry. How dare someone take Emma from us?"

Ms Agnew's body was found in a forested area near the Spencer Park holiday camp, about 15km north of Christchurch, on Monday night by a man walking his dog.

Wigram Lodge manager John Hannah said about 12.25pm members of the police armed offenders squad arrived with dogs, smashed the door to a unit open and arrested a person inside.

Police also threw explosive devices in as they entered the unit.

Mr Hannah said the shaven-headed man taken away was not a tenant of the lodge, and was hiding in the room.

Ms Noble said Ms Agnew had been a future leader in the deaf community and the hole she left would never be filled.

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