Police identify site where murdered prostitute attacked

Mellory Manning. Photo / Supplied
Mellory Manning. Photo / Supplied

Christchurch police believe they have identified the site where murdered prostitute Mellory Manning was taken and attacked nearly two years ago.

Detective Inspector Greg Williams said forensic evidence had linked Ms Manning with an address in Galbraith Avenue, which was being used by the Mongrel Mob at the time of her murder.

Mr Williams said the identification of the site where Ms Manning had been attacked had been a key focus of the police investigation into her murder.

He said a variety of seeds had been found in Ms Manning's clothing, which indicated she had been attacked somewhere like an empty section.

Mr Williams said police had examined a large number of such sites and had taken exhibits from 16, but forensic evidence now linked Ms Manning to a large section at 25 Galbraith Avenue.

"This site is very close to where the victim's body was located in the Avon River," he said.

"I am satisfied from the results currently to hand that it is most probable that this was the site that Mellory was taken to and attacked. Forensic evidence has been recovered that links her specifically with that scene."

Mr Williams said timings in the case suggested that Ms Manning's attackers would have had previous knowledge of the site.

He said he was satisfied that Ms Manning had been picked up about 10.40pm and entered the Avon River just before 11pm.

"It is possible for this to occur and for Mallory to be taken to this site.

"Our timings suggest that she and her attackers would have arrived there just before 10.50pm. This infers that they had previous knowledge of the existence and whereabouts of this site."

Mr Williams said at the time of the murder, a building on the property was being used by the Christchurch Chapter of the Aotearoa Mongrel Mob and has been referred by them as their "pad".

"I can say that this aspect has been a significant part of the investigation to date but we do not rule out that other people could have had access to this site," he said.

Ms Manning's family had been informed of today's "significant development", Mr Williams said.

Ms Manning, 27, was found by a kayaker near Dallington Terrace, east of the city centre, early on November 19, 2008 after her body was dumped in the Avon River.

She had suffered extensive injuries and police believed she was dead before being put into the river.

Police are continuing to examine the Galbraith Avenue site and will be talking to local residents from today.

"We ask that any people that were living there at the time and have now moved to make contact with the Operation Dallington Investigation team," Mr Williams said.

- NZ HERALD STAFF

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