Sexual motive not ruled out in Ashburton homicide

Sina SolomonaPolice are looking at the possibility a fatal attack on an Ashburton woman was sexually motivated.

They also revealed today that a bloodied hand print was discovered on a nearby clothing bin as they investigated the death of Sina Solomona, 22.

Detective Senior Sergeant John Rae told a press conference today that it did not appear Ms Solomona was raped but he could not rule out a sexual element to the attack.

Describing the injuries suffered by young mother, killed in her home around 2.30am on Saturday, he agreed it could be interpreted that the attacker was angry at his victim.

Post-mortem examination results had revealed more injuries. Some were likely to have been caused by a sharp blade and some were likely to be caused by blunt trauma.

It was unknown which injuries were inflicted first. Most were around her head and included cuts to her face and throat.

Police did not have an indication as to what had caused the blunt force trauma at this stage. A weapon had been found near her body, but it was unknown whether or not it had been used in the attack.

Mr Rae was confident of ultimately making an arrest.

"We will bring someone to justice for it, it's a horrific crime, we have a 3-year-old who doesn't have a mother," he said.

Ms Solomona's daughter Kaira is being cared for by extended family members.

Mr Rae said a bloodied hand print had been discovered on a nearby clothing bin.

Ms Solomona's Cass Street house is one block from the Salvation Army shop. Police were checking the contents of clothing bins in the town and they were being examined.

Police had spoken to family members, who are also not believed to be implicated, and were looking at direct and wider connections, such as through work, sports clubs and friends. There was no specific persons of interest to the enquiry at this stage.

Whether the killer was among the 25 to 30 people police had already interviewed was unknown.

"But given we still have a large number of people to speak to it's just as likely (the offender is still to be spoken to)," Mr Rae said.

There was no sign of forced entry to the house, and the back door was unlocked.

"We assume whoever it was has gone through the back door," Mr Rae said.

However, it was unknown whether the attacker was already in the house when Ms Solomona was dropped home by her sister's partner sometime between 2.20am and 2.30am on Saturday, or whether he came to the property afterwards.

Yesterday forensic mapping of the house was underway, this involved preparing a plan of the house and mapping out the location of furniture and other items, and getting a family representative to inform whether any items were new or missing from the crime scene.

- By Susan Sandys of the Ashburton Guardian

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