A man who hired sex worker Mellory Manning on the night she
was killed was unable to reach her by text later that night
and the following two days, the High Court at Christchurch
has been told.
The man, whose identity is suppressed, told the court he met
Ms Manning for the first time on December 18, 2008, and had
sex with her in his car before dropping her back at her usual
spot on the corner of Manchester St and Peterborough St about
Mongrel Mob gang prospect Mauha Huataki Fawcett, 26, has
denied murdering Ms Manning, claiming police pressured him
into making false confessions that he was present when she
was killed over an unpaid debt.
The Crown alleges Ms Manning, 27, was raped, bashed with
weapons and stabbed at a Mongrel Mob gang pad before her body
was dumped in the Avon River.
In evidence read to the court today, the man said that after
they had sex, Ms Manning offered her cellphone number and
said she'd like to meet up with him for a coffee.
"I had no intention of using her or meeting her again, but I
said yes because I didn't want to offend her."
Ms Manning handed him a piece of paper with her telephone
number on it.
"When she gave me the piece of paper she said she'd like to
meet up again for a coffee sometime. I didn't reply," he
However, the man said he texted her as he was driving home,
saying, 'that was nice. Have a good night'.
She replied, saying, 'cool, text me any time'.
The man said he texted her again about 10.43pm but received
At work the following morning, he heard that a woman's body
had been found in the Avon River.
The man said he texted Ms Manning again that night and again
on Saturday without reply.
"I had no idea it was Mellory in the river."
On December 21, a detective showed him a photograph which he
identified as the woman he'd engaged for sex.
"I only met Mellory that night. I think she introduced
herself as Mel."
He said he gave the piece of paper that Ms Manning had given
him to police.
Earlier, the court heard that Fawcett and a patched Mongrel
Mob member had been looking for Ms Manning on the night she
A woman, whose name is suppressed, said Fawcett, who she knew
by his gang nickname, "Muck Dog", told her they were looking
for a 'chick called Mel' while the three were sharing
cannabis in a red Mazda car driver by Fawcett about 10.30pm.
"They were looking for her. They said she owed money," she
The woman said she didn't know Ms Manning.
When she got out of the car, Fawcett and the mob member drove
She said they were going to look up the street to see if Ms
Manning was working.
An ESR scientist told the court toxicology tests showed that
Ms Manning had methadone, cannabis, morphine, traces of an
anti-anxiety drug and a sleeping aid drug in her system at
the time of her death.
No alcohol was detected.
Evidence yesterday, from Ms Manning's cellphone records on
the night she was killed, traced her movements from her usual
working spot at on the corner of Manchester St and
Peterborough St to Galbraith Ave in Avonside, where the Crown
alleges she was murdered at a Mongrel Mob gang pad.
The trial continues.
- Cullen Smith of the Christchurch Star