Ac­cused: ‘I don't feel good man’

Wit­ness tells of be­ing fol­lowed soon be­fore mur­der

The New Zealand Herald - - NEWS - Kurt Bayer

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.

Pic­ture / STUFF

Mur­dered sex worker Re­nee Duck­man­ton.

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