Jury finds man guilty of strangling, murdering Christchurch sex worker Renee Duckmanton

A jury has found Sainey Marong, the man accused of strangling to death Christchurch sex worker Renee Duckmanton in 2016, guilty of murder.

They handed down their verdict in the High Court at Christchurch after just 50 minutes of deliberation.

The family of Ms Duckmanton were in tears and shouted "yes, thankyou, thankyou" as the verdict was read out.

Marong will be sentenced in the Christchurch High court on April 20.

The trial

The 20-year-old Christchurch prostitute's body was found burning on the side of the road in Rakaia, in May 2016.

Murder accused, 33-year-old Marong admitted strangling her, as he gave evidence in his own defence, however he claims he was insane at the time.

The Crown's case included evidence that Marong murdered Ms Duckmanton to "fulfil his sexual fantasy" of killing a sex worker and had googled whether fire would destroy DNA.

In summing up earlier today, Justice Cameron Mander told the jury: "The internet searches are evidence on which the Crown relies that Mr Marong was planning on the murder of a sex worker."

However Justice Mander says Marong's evidence in his own defence stated: "He was mentally impaired when he assaulted Miss Duckmanton, he says he was insane.

"It's the defence case that the accused did not intend to kill her and therefore did not have murderous intent."

The jury needs to decide if the accused is guilty or not guilty of murder or manslaughter, and they then must consider whether it's been proven the accused was insane at the time of the killing.

Justice Mander has explained to the jury that if they decide Marong is not guilty by reason of insanity, he would decide his further treatment under the Mentally Impaired Person's Act.

"It would not be the case that Mr Marong is released on delivery of such a verdict."


The Crown says evidence against Sainey Marong is overwhelming. Source: 1 NEWS

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Live stream: Report into meth contamination in state housing to be released

Housing Minister Phil Twyford and Housing NZ chief executive Andrew McKenzie will speak about the report.

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Vice Chancellor Jan Thomas misled students, says Massey University Students' Association president

Massey University Vice Chancellor Jan Thomas misled students over the cancellation of the Don Brash speaking event and the student association has no confidence in her ability to do the job.

Student association president Ngahuia Kirton says her biggest concern to come out of the issue was threats to restrict funding to the association.

"As a whole, students seem to have been misled and I don’t think that their views were properly taken into consideration by the senior leadership team," she told TVNZ1’s Breakfast.

"MUSA’s position is very clear, we have no confidence in the vice chancellor’s ability to discharge her duties, so I would hope that the university council would take that into consideration," she said.

Documents obtained yesterday under the Official Information Act contain correspondence to and from Ms Thomas in the run-up to the cancellation.

In one email on 9 July, the vice-chancellor said she did not want a "te tiriti led university to be seen to be endorsing racist behaviours".

A day later, she emailed to say she would like to know the options for banning the politics club from holding events on campus.

She said the "racist behaviour of Dr Brash - given te reo is an official language of NZ and we are a tiriti-led university - can't be ignored".

Ms Kirton said the vice chancellor’s concerns that Mr Brash’s views didn’t align with the values of the university were valid but students were still misled.

"I think her concerns were more around the fact that Massey University is a teriti-led and her views that Don Brash’s views didn’t align with that is completely valid."

"I’m more concerned about the way she handled the communication and the events that happened afterwards."

"Personally, I don’t agree with Don Brash’s views, and I think many people at the student association also do not agree with them, however I do think university as the critic and conscience of society is a great place to have those healthy debates and these difficult conversations."

Ms Kirton says her biggest concern to come out of the issue was threats to restrict funding to the association.

"The cancellation of the Don Brash events aside, the student association’s biggest concern is actually the threats to restrict funding to student associations to manage backlash."

President Ngahuia Kirton says the student association has no confidence in Jan Thomas’s ability to perform her duties. Source: Breakfast

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Refugee quota increase a proud moment, Red Cross says, but now it's time to prepare

Jacinda Ardern's announcement yesterday that we will increase our yearly refugee intake to 1500 by 2020 was a proud moment for New Zealand, says Red Cross official Rachel O'Conner.

But there are some things we will have to do as a nation to prepare for the increase, which will result in New Zealand having doubled its intake in less than five years, she told TVNZ1's Breakfast this morning.

"We'll need people to respond, we're going to need people to volunteer, to donate items," she said. "But a lot of it is about...having welcoming communities."

Resettlement, she explained, is difficult - away from family and friends, without work and often having to learn a new language.

"Kiwis have this value of showing care and compassion, and that is what helps build that sense of belonging," said Ms O'Conner, who serves as national migration programmes manager for the humanitarian organisation.

That's 500 extra people who'll be making New Zealand home annually. Source: 1 NEWS

Under the Prime Minister's plan, six new resettlement communities will be established so that existing ones in New Zealand aren't over-burdened. The towns, however, haven't yet been chosen.

"We're going to be looking for councils and community groups to put up their hands and say, 'Yup, we want to be one of the new six'," Ms O'Conner said.

Ms O'Conner described yesterday's announcement as "a great start". But with 1.4 million people in desperate need of resettlement, "we're seeing unprecedented needs globally at the moment", she added, explaining that the Government also needs to take another good look at foreign aid and peace building activities.

Even after yesterday's announcement, New Zealand is far from being a leader in terms of refugee intake numbers.

PM Jacinda Ardern made the announcement today. Source: 1 NEWS

"But we are leaders in the terms of the quality of resettlement that we provide," she said, telling the story of a mum who had carried her disabled teen son on her back for his entire life because they didn't have access to health care in their previous country.

After arriving in Auckland, the boy was given a wheelchair and it changed both of their lives, O'Conner said.

"She kept saying, 'I can't believe I don't have to carry him anymore'," she recalled.

Jacinda Ardern’s announcement yesterday means six new settlement locations will be in the works, Rachel O’Conner told Breakfast. Source: Breakfast


Inquiry to look at how NSW police investigated dozens of gay hate killings

The way NSW Police investigated gay hate crimes, which drove men over cliffs to their deaths or saw them brutally bashed in their homes or city parks, will be examined by a state parliamentary inquiry.

The inquiry to be conducted by the NSW Social Issues Committee, will investigate how NSW Police handled gay hate crimes and why the state's justice system may not have protected LGBTQI people or delayed justice for them and their families.

The committee will investigate the almost 90 gay murders between 1970 and 2010 and also call for public submissions from victims and their families.

A police investigation of 88 suspicious deaths of gay men between 1976 to 2000 found 27 of them were likely murdered simply for being gay.

Committee chair Shayne Mallard said the inquiry would look at gay hate crimes perpetrated against the LGBTIQ community and review current policies to identify shortcomings.

Australia police Source: 1 NEWS