An extremely rare mutated grass
pollen found on Mellory Manning's clothing matched samples
taken from the Mongrel Mob gang pad where police say she was
raped and brutally murdered.
A world-leading forensic scientist has been giving evidence
at the High Court trial in Christchurch of Mauha Huataki
Gang prospect Fawcett, 26, known within gang circles as 'Muck
Dog', denies murder and is representing himself with
assistance from an amicus curiae.
He claims police pressured him into making false confessions
that he was present when Christchurch sex worker Miss
Manning, 27, was killed on or about December 18, 2008 over an
The Crown says Fawcett - then aged 20 - either took part in
the killing, or was there as a party to her murder.
Miss Manning's mutilated and partially-naked body was
discovered floating in the Avon River the day after she was
Dr Dallas Mildenhall, GNS principal scientist and forensic
palynologist who is expert in pollen spores, was tasked with
analysing pollen samples and relating her clothing to scenes
of interest in Christchurch.
He was surprised to find on her hooded cardigan a "very rare"
genetically-mutated two pored grass pollen.
Dr Mildenhall had never previously encountered it in his
45-year career. Three other highly experienced, and globally
renowned colleagues, agreed it was a particularly rare find.
Further investigations found the exact same pollen at the
Mongrel Mob ganghouse at 25 Galbraith Ave in Christchurch.
Pollen only travels "a few metres from source", the court
It was also found in the carpet, underlay and floor sweepings
from under the gang pad building.
Given that the pollen wasn't found at any other scene of
interest, and its "remarkable" rarity, Dr Mildenhall said
"the evidence strongly suggests" Miss Manning came into
contact with it at the gang pad.
That type of pollen was not found in her nasal passages.
And since it was found on the rear of her hood and left
sleeve of the cardigan, it was likely Miss Manning was on her
back when the pollen became attached, he said.
Dr Mildenhall went as far to say that "the evidence does not
exclude the possibility" that Miss Manning took her last
breath at the gang pad.
In his first police interviews, Fawcett described how Miss
Manning was taken to the gang pad at Galbraith Avenue,
Avonside, where she was raped, bashed and stabbed.
Fawcett initially told police that Mongrel Mob gangsters
barked like dogs and gave Nazi salutes as they carried out
the fatal assault. She was then dumped in the river 200
Fawcett later backtracked from his earlier version of events,
saying he wasn't present during the attack.
Under cross-examination by Fawcett's amicus curiae - lawyer
Craig Ruane appointed to provide legal assistance - Dr
Mildenhall today rubbished suggestions the rare grass
could've come from another property.
"It's almost impossible," he said.
Justice David Gendall asked Fawcett if he had any questions.
"I'm just a bit shocked that it came from the one place...
and not anywhere else in Christchurch," he replied.
"Is that a question you'd like to put to Dr Mildenhall," the
judged asked Fawcett.
"Um, I don't know what to say, sir. I think I might just
The trial has adjourned for the weekend and will resume on
- By Kurt Bayer of