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NZ: Man strangles prostitute (Canterbury)

Publish Date: 04 Jun 2009
Source: The Press
By: Kim Thomas

Police are hunting a man who strangled a prostitute in central Christchurch and fled on a mountainbike.

The attack happened on Friday on the banks of the Avon River, only a block and a half from the spot where prostitute Mellory Manning was last seen alive in December.

Manning's body was found dumped in the Avon River, but detectives investigating her murder say they are not actively investigating the latest attack.

Constable Daniel Overend, of the Christchurch police, said the prostitute was knocked to the ground and strangled by a man about 9pm on Friday near the Retour rotunda restaurant in Cambridge Tce.

The man stopped strangling the prostitute and left when she started screaming. He made no attempt to take her bag or other belongings, Overend said.

The victim described her attacker as European and aged between 19 and 25. She told police he was "quite good-looking", clean-shaven and about 1.75 metres tall, with a solid, muscular build.

He wore a blue woollen hat with ear flaps, and a grey polypropylene top under a high-visibility T-shirt.

Overend said the attacker was riding a mountainbike but was not wearing a helmet.

The prostitute believed her attacker could have been intoxicated, Overend said.

A police spokeswoman said the man had approached the woman for sex.

Police were reviewing closed-circuit television footage to try to identify the man, she said.

Detective Senior Sergeant Brian Archer, second-in-command of the Manning inquiry, said his team was not investigating Friday's incident.

Three prostitutes have lost their lives in less than four years while working Christchurch streets.

Suzie Sutherland's naked body was found in central Christchurch in April 2005. South African immigrant Jule Patrick Burns, 31, was found guilty of her murder.

Peter Waihape was found guilty of the December 2005 murder of another prostitute, whose name is suppressed.

Copyright © 2009 Fairfax New Zealand Limited