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NZ: Police seek help in Avon River investigation (Canterbury)

Publish Date: 20 Dec 2008
Source: TVNZ/ONE News

Mallory Manning - Photo/ONE News

Christchurch police are appealing to the public to help them make a breakthrough in their hunt for the killer of a young woman dumped in the Avon River.

She's been identified as Ngatai or Mallory Manning, a Christchurch prostitute and police say the body shows evidence of extensive injuries.

A team of 30 officers is working on the case, but the investigation is being hampered due to bad weather and heavy rain, which has made luminol testing for blood traces at the scene of the crime difficult.

Police say they have not yet ascertained where Mallory's body was dumped in the river.

Support groups for sex workers have spoken out; horrified that Christchurch has seen a third prostitute killing in just three years.

Police say a post-mortem has been completed, but are revealing little.

"She's died as a result of extensive injuries, but I'm not in a position to divulge what those are just yet," says Detective Inspector Greg Williams, Christchurch police.

Known as Mallory, 27-year-old Ngatai Manning's body was found by a kayaker early on Friday morning.

Mallory was last seen on the corners of Peterborough and Manchester Streets at 10:15 on Thursday night. She worked there as a prostitute for many years and the area was her patch.

Last night, police themselves were out and about on the streets, talking to her associates and their minders as they try to piece together her final hours.

She's the third Christchurch sex worker to be murdered in the past three years and Anna Street, of the Prostitutes Collective, says a change of attitudes is badly needed.

"Attitudes really need to change. Peoples attitudes perpetuate the kind of feeling that she is just a prostitute, she's worthless; yes she worked on the street, but she was a person in her own right," says Street.

Police were out door knocking on Saturday and conducting search warrants, but are still asking for help from the public.

"Mallory, while she worked as a prostitute, was also someone's partner, daughter and sister and she really didn't deserve to die in this way," says Inspector Williams.

The Prostitutes Collective is assisting police, with names of previous violent offenders they believe, could be back preying on workers.

"We have given info to police and sometimes they've given it to us. We actually have a very good relationship with the police in Christchurch," says Street.

The Collective has previously created a safety kit to try and help keep workers safe.

Police say they will be patrolling the streets tonight, talking to known clients and associates of Mallory for clues.

They also say they will be talking to the prostitution networks which are very good and to the minders, who always take note of car registration numbers to make sure that prostitutes are kept safe.

Mallory according to police was not working with a minder when she disappeared.

Copyright © 2008, Television New Zealand Limited


Stop Demand comment

Another tragic murder, making a lie of the claims by prostitution apologists that decriminalising prostitution would provide greater safety to women in prostitution.

The law does NOT provide safety to women. [more]  At best, it provides reporting mechanisms to report rapes and violence that are inherent to prostitution, a reality borne out by the need for "minders".  That New Zealand has legitimized as "work" an activity that is full of violence towards women and entrenches gender inequality, is to New Zealand's shame. [see alternatives]