A homicide detective who investigated the death of a 10-year-old girl at her family home in Christchurch rated it today as one of the "most detailed'' crime scene examinations of his career.

The trial of George Gwaze, 60, who is accused of the 2007 murder and rape of his 10-year-old niece Charlene Makaza resumed this morning in the High Court at Christchurch.

Detective Anthony Clare, officer in charge of the crime scene, was the first witness to give evidence at the trial, which is expected to last four weeks and involved more than 90 witnesses.

Gwaze is accused of two counts of sexually assaulting the young girl before murdering her in the family's Bryndwr home in January 2007.


Mr Clare said a homicide investigation was launched early on January 7, just hours after Charlene died at Christchurch Hospital.

Mr Clare, who oversaw a six-hour examination of the home, said there was no sign of forced entry.

There was "no activity'' beneath the open windows of the house, and no trampled gardens, Mr Clare told the jury of seven men and five women this morning.

Inside the victim's upstairs bedroom, police found religious books and hair straighteners.

There were no sheets on Charlene's bed, The bed covers were "scrunched up at the head of the bed'', Mr Clare said.

The next day ESR staff tested Gwaze's bed, which he shared with his wife Sifiso, for traces of blood and semen but returned negative results.

Mr Clare said the entire scene examination took four days before it was handed back to the Gwaze family.

Under cross-examination by defence counsel Jonathan Eaton, he admitted it was "one of the most detailed scene examinations'' he had ever conducted.

Mrs Gwaze found Charlene unresponsive in her bed at 5.45am on January 6, 2007.

The young girl was taken by the family to a 24-hour medical centre in Christchurch, before being rushed to the city's public hospital where she died the next day.

The trial continues.