Man found dead in burnt out car named

The man whose body was found in a burnt-out car in North Canterbury on Sunday was Shane Malcolm Bell.

Detective Senior Sergeant Brian Archer said inquiries in relation to the vehicle, along with the scene examination and information received from the public, indicate it is highly likely the dead man is Mr Bell, a 28-year old self-employed car salesman.

A post-mortem completed this morning also assisted police in coming to this view, Detective Senior Sergeant Archer says. Further forensic examination will be undertaken to fully confirm the dead man's identity.

Police have released a photograph of Mr Bell, and are appealing for any information about his movements last week.

The last reported sighting of Mr Bell was at his home in the Christchurch suburb of Dallington on Thursday morning.

Mr Bell's family and partner have been spoken to by police.

"At this stage the inquiry remains a suspicious death investigation. We are trying to put together a picture of the deceased's movements in the days leading up to his death.

"A key component to this investigation is determining when the car was burnt out. We now believe this was prior to Thursday evening. A member of the public who was in the area has come forward to police and indicated they had seen the burnt out shell of the car at around 4 to 5pm on Thursday."

Police have now discounted bullet holes found in the side of the car as being related to the fire or the death.

"A group of recreational shooters has come forward and told police they were in the vicinity on Friday evening. They have indicated that the car was already burnt out at that time, and that they fired shots at the vehicle using a rifle."

Police are also continuing to appeal for any sightings of the Subaru station wagon prior to Thursday evening.

A scene examination is expected to be completed at the Loburn site today. Police expect to remove the vehicle from the site this afternoon.

Anyone with information about Mr Bell or the 1989 silver Subaru station wagon is asked to contact Christchurch police on (03) 3637400.

Alternatively, to provide information anonymously contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

- The Star

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