Kurt Bayer

Kurt Bayer is an APNZ reporter based in Christchurch.

Manning murderer lodges appeal

Mauha Fawcett during sentencing in the Christchurch High Court for the murder of Mellory Manning. Photo / Fairfax NZ
Mauha Fawcett during sentencing in the Christchurch High Court for the murder of Mellory Manning. Photo / Fairfax NZ

The Mongrel Mob prospect jailed for life imprisonment with a minimum non-parole period of 20 years for the brutal slaying of Christchurch prostitute Ngatai 'Mellory' Manning has lodged an appeal against both his conviction and sentence.

Mauha Huataki Fawcett, 26, filed his appeal at the Court of Appeal just two weeks after his conviction.

A hearing date and venue are yet to be confirmed, a court spokeswoman confirmed to APNZ today.

Fawcett, known within gang circles as 'Muck Dog', had denied murdering Miss Manning, 27, on December 18, 2008.

Ahead of his trial at the High Court in Christchurch, he sacked his defence counsel, experienced criminal lawyer Craig Ruane.

He claimed to have been unhappy with the legal advice he was receiving.

During the high-profile and complex trial, Fawcett, who has a British bulldog tattooed on his face, conducted his own defence, with assistance by Ruane acting as an amicus curiae.

Fawcett stood in court and claimed police had pressured and "coached" him into making false confessions.

He denied having anything to do with her death.

Miss Manning had been working on the night of December 18, 2008, when she was picked up at her usual spot at Christchurch's red light district in what the Crown alleged had been a pre-planned and well-organised hit by the Aotearoa chapter of the Mongrel Mob where Fawcett would earn his gang patch.

She was driven the short distance to the Mob's pad at Galbraith Ave where she was raped, then beaten and stabbed.

The Crown contended that mobsters, including Fawcett, dumped her naked body in the Avon River.

At sentencing on May 1 this year, Justice David Gendall agreed that the attack by Fawcett, and several mobsters armed with weapons, against a defenceless and slightly built 45kg woman displayed "a high level of brutality, depravity and callousness".

"You have shown no remorse at all Mr Fawcett."

The police investigation into Miss Manning's death remains open.

Miss Manning's brother Rob said that while the appeal comes as no surprise to the family, it's another blow.

"He's made the court process as difficult as he can the whole way through," he said.

"This has been going on for years. He just keeps rubbing it in the family's face.

"He has no remorse for what has happened. It's the ultimate really. He had no remorse during the case, and obviously still has no remorse now."

Mr Manning said he has spoken with police in recent weeks, but has not heard of any significant news as yet.

- APNZ

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