A third person has been arrested over a robbery of an Ashburton man who was later found dead, police say.

A 26-year-old Ashburton man was arrested today and will appear in Timaru District Court tomorrow morning charged with assaulting Arran Gairns with intent to rob.

Police believe Mr Gairns was the victim of an attempted robbery, though to have taken place before 4am on Saturday May 31.

His body was found in a drainage run-off area behind commercial premises on West St on Sunday afternoon.


His death is being treated as suspicious.

Inquiries into his death continued today, police said, with focus on locating and speaking to a number of people deemed to be of interest in relation to events leading up to Mr Gairns' death.

Further forensic examination was carried out today around the wider area near where Mr Gairns' body was found, police said.

A 24-year-old man was this morning charged with assaulting Mr Gairns with intent to rob, while a 26-year-old Wellington woman appeared in Timaru District Court yesterday facing the same charge.

She entered no plea and was remanded on bail until her next appearance in the Ashburton District Court on June 23.