Kurt Bayer

Kurt Bayer is an NZME. News Service reporter

Mellory Manning trial: Brutal attack described

Mauha Huataki Fawcett in court. Photo: John Kirk-Anderson/ The Press / Fairfax NZ
Mauha Huataki Fawcett in court. Photo: John Kirk-Anderson/ The Press / Fairfax NZ

Christchurch sex worker Ngatai 'Mellory' Manning was raped, bashed, and stabbed at a Mongrel Mob gang pad before her mutilated body was dumped in a river, a court has heard today.

Gang prospect, or soldier, Mauha Huataki Fawcett, 26, claims police pressured him into making false confessions that he was there when Miss Manning was killed on or about December 18, 2008 over an unpaid debt.

Fawcett, known within gang circles as 'Muck Dog' denies murder and is representing himself - with assistance of an amicus curiae - at a High Court murder trial which began in Christchurch today.

The Crown says Fawcett - then aged just 20 - either took part in the killing, or was there as a party to her murder.

But Fawcett, who has no legal training, stood in court to profess in a soft-spoken voice that he was innocent.

"I'm here charged for murder for what I've said [to police]," he said.

"I've made these false confessions, which was due to pressure put on by the police.

"I'm very shocked to be standing here today."

Earlier, the Crown said Fawcett wanted to impress Mongrel Mob bosses and get patched.

His job was to mind the girls selling sex on Manchester St in Christchurch's red light district and to enforce taxes.

The court heard that the Aotearoa chapter of the Mongrel Mob was trying to muscle in and control the street workers, and wanted to tax them $20 on each transaction.

Miss Manning - aged 27 - had been working on her usual patch on the corner of Peterborough and Manchester streets on the night she was killed.

The last known sighting of her was around 10.35pm to 10.40pm.

Mellory Manning. Photo / supplied
Mellory Manning. Photo / supplied


In his first police interviews, Fawcett described how Miss Manning was taken to the gang pad at Galbraith Avenue, Avonside, in what was a planned hit.

As part of his gang initiation, he was meant to stab Miss Manning but refused.

Fawcett initially told police that Mongrel Mob gangsters barked like dogs and gave Nazi salutes as they carried out the fatal assault.

She was raped and stabbed, before being battered by a metal pole as she tried to crawl away, the court heard.

It was a "blood bath", Fawcett told police.

Miss Manning's partially-naked body was discovered floating in the Avon River the next day.

Fawcett later backtracked from his earlier version of events, saying he wasn't present during the attack.

A post-mortem examination identified four different types of injuries - all of which were life-threatening. They included blunt force head injuries, bruises indicative of strangulation, and stab wounds to Miss Manning's chest and elsewhere on her body.

The trial continues before Justice David Gendall tomorrow

- APNZ

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