Accused: ‘I don't feel good man’
Witness tells of being followed soon before murder
The day after Renee Duckmanton’s burning body was found, the man accused of murdering the sex worker 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 says 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”.
Friend, fellow butcher and Muslim Abdelilh Rharrabti yesterday described meeting Marong on the day Duckmanton disappeared, and in the days afterwards.
On the day she disappeared, Marong had dropped a large piece of lamb at Rharrabti’s house, “looking in a hurry”.
The Crown said Marong had bought and slaughtered a sheep earlier that day, using his own knives to remove its tongue. A sheep’s tongue was found near Duckmanton’s body. It was linked back to the animal Marong had slaughtered, the Crown said.
Cross-examined by defence counsel Jonathan Krebbs, Rharrabti said it was normal practice to discard a sheep’s head, including its tongue.
He found it unusual Marong would buy a sheep privately, when it was easier and cheaper to get lamb meat from his butcher employers.
On Sunday, May 15, Marong called Rharrabti from a different cell number than usual, asking for a pick-up from Rolleston McDonald’s because his car had broken down. When picked up, Marong
sat in the back and “looked sick or didn’t want to talk”.
Next day, Marong arrived at Rharrabti’s unannounced and stayed for dinner. Rharrabti said Marong started to cry.
When asked what was wrong, Marong had replied he had some problem, adding, “I don’t feel like I am good man”.
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 old Audi was.
He then asked Rharrabti for help to vacuum and clean the Audi, which he said he wanted to sell on Facebook.
Earlier yesterday, forensic pathologist Dr Kate White said autopsy results showed Duckmanton was strangled to death and not alive when 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, no soot in the airways and no elevated levels of carbon monoxide.
Evidence of neck compression was found, 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 was neck compression.
Earlier, a woman with interim name suppression said Marong followed her weeks before Duckmanton died. She told the court she left work in Christchurch about 10.30pm on April 4, 2016. Driving on Moorhouse Ave, she noticed a silver Audi behind.
Its lights kept turning on and off, and the car pulled over to the side of the road briefly before following her again. She thought it “really odd” and initially put it down to a drunk driver. But then she realised she was being tailed.
She phoned police and told them. 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”.
Turning into a petrol station forecourt, she did a U-turn and said the Audi driver waited at the entrance for her.
She was too nervous to look in his window. Soon a police car arrived.
Police constable Zeb Harland told the court he had pulled over Marong after 11pm.
Marong had claimed he was just going for a relaxing drive. Harland issued a verbal warning and let him go.
The trial, before Justice Cameron Mander, continues.
Murdered sex worker Renee Duckmanton.