The day after sex worker Renee Duckmanton's burning body was found, the man accused of murdering her allegedly broke down at dinner with a friend and said, "I don't feel like I am good man".

Sainey Marong, 33, denies picking up Duckmanton from Christchurch's red light district on May 14, 2016 before strangling her to death, dumping her body on a country roadside, and setting her on fire.

The Crown claims its case against the butcher originally from Gambia is "overwhelming", with DNA samples taken from Duckmanton, and from samples found where her body was dumped, allegedly belonging to Marong.

His defence at the High Court murder trial in Christchurch says the evidence is best understood through a "lens of mental imbalance".


Today, a friend, fellow butcher and Muslim, Abdelilh Rharrabti described encounters with Marong on the day Duckmanton disappeared, and in the days afterwards.

On the day Duckmanton disappeared, Marong dropped a large piece of lamb at Rharrabti's house, "looking in a hurry".

The Crown says that Marong had bought a sheep and had it slaughtered earlier that day, using his own knives to remove its tongue. A sheep's tongue was found within metres of Duckmanton's body and is linked back to the animal Marong had slaughtered, the Crown says.

Under cross-examination by defence counsel Jonathan Krebbs, Rharrabti said it was normal practice to discard the sheep's head, including its tongue.

He also found it unusual that Marong would buy a sheep privately, when it was easier and cheaper to get lamb meat from his butcher employers.

At 8.39am on Sunday, May 15, Marong phoned Rharrabti from a different cell number than usual, asking for a pick up from Rolleston McDonald's because his Audi had broken down.

When his mate picked him up, Marong sat in the backseat and "looked sick or didn't want to talk".

The next day, Marong arrived at Rharrabti's house unannounced and stayed for dinner.

Rharrabti said he noticed Marong's "mood was changing" and started to cry.

When asked what was bothering him and if he could help, he said Marong replied he had some problem, adding, "I don't feel like I am good man".

Renee Duckmanton was allegedly murdered by Sainey Marong on 14 May 2016. Photo / Supplied
Renee Duckmanton was allegedly murdered by Sainey Marong on 14 May 2016. Photo / Supplied

The following Sunday, Marong arrived at Rharrabti's house in a new car, a Nissan Fuga. He asked to be driven to a nearby Hornby property where his Audi was.

He then asked Rharrabti for help to vaccum and clean the Audi, which he said he wanted to sell on Facebook.

Earlier today, forensic pathologist Dr Kate White revealed that autopsy results showed that Duckmanton was strangled to death and was not alive when her body was set on fire.

While the pathologist found patchy burn marks on Duckmanton's neck, upper chest and an arm, and the charred remains of shorts and underpants, there was no evidence of smoke inhalation, with no soot in the airways and no elevated levels of carbon monoxide.

However, she discovered evidence of neck compression, with bruising in the neck tissues and right eyeball.

There was no evidence to suggest she was alive after the fire began, and White concluded cause of death to be neck compression.
Earlier today, a woman who has interim name suppression claimed that she was followed by murder accused Sainey Marong just weeks before he allegedly killed Duckmanton.

She told the court how she left work in inner city Christchurch at around 10.30pm on April 4, 2016.

As she was driving home on Moorhouse Ave, she noticed a silver Audi driving behind her, the court heard.

Watching in her mirrors, she said the car kept turning its lights on and off, and then pulling over to the side of the road briefly, before following her again.

She thought it was "really odd" and put it down to a drunk driver.

But as she was heading home, she realised that she was being deliberately followed.

She phoned police on *555 around and told them a silver Audi was following her. Police staff told her to keep driving around until officers caught up to her.

Asked by Crown prosecutor Pip Currie how she was feeling, the witness said: "Nervous. Very nervous."

She kept driving around the Hornby area, waiting for police.

Turning into a petrol station forecourt, she did a u-turn while she says the Audi driver waited at the entrance for her.

She was too nervous to even look into his window, she said.

She soon saw a police car flashing its red and blue lights and pulled over.

Police constable Zeb Harland told the court how he pulled over Marong after 11pm.

Marong denied drinking and explained that he had simply gone for a relaxing drive around the city to unwind after work, Harland said.

He also denied following anyone, saying he had been driving around aimlessly.

The police officer said he appeared calm and relaxed. After checks, he found Marong had no criminal history and carried a full New Zealand drivers licence.

Harland issued Marong with a verbal warning around his driving and let him go.

The woman was told of the outcome and she went home.

The trial, before Justice Cameron Mander, continues.