Manning murder a Mob hit, court told

Mellory Manning
Mellory Manning
The brutal murder of Ngatai 'Mellory' Manning was a planned hit by the Mongrel Mob, where gang prospect Mauha Fawcett was supposed to earn his patch, a court was told today.

Gangsters claimed the Christchurch sex worker owed them money.

They planned how they would pick her up off the street, take her back to the gang-pad where they were waiting, tooled up with weapons and tarpaulins ready to cleanly dispose of her body, the Crown said.

"They were ready. They were ready to murder her," Crown prosecutor Phil Shamy said during a two-hour closing address to the jury in Fawcett's murder trial in the High Court at Fawcett, who is conducting his own trial with help by an amicus curiae, denies murder.

The 26-year-old former gang prospect was known within gang circles as 'Muck Dog', claims police pressured and "coached" him into making false confessions that he was present when Miss Manning, 27, was killed on or about December 18, 2008 over an alleged debt.

The Crown says Fawcett - then aged 21 - either took part in the killing, or was there as a party to her brutal murder.

Her partially naked body was discovered floating in the Avon River the day after she was killed.

Today, the Crown said Fawcett was supposed to carry out the hit, but when the time came, he couldn't do it.

During a series of police interviews, he implicated himself in the killing.

He told cops that he hit her with a metal pole, "whose only purpose is a weapon", Mr Shamy said.

Fawcett, it's alleged, then acted as a lookout as another mobster dumped the body.

He then wiped down and cleaned out the car, Mr Shamy said, before later fleeing town, fearing the mob would either say he killed her, or would take him out.

"He was a weak link. He hadn't done what he was supposed to do. And that's why he did a runner," Mr Shamy said.

He confessed to being part of the murder because he was "haunted" by it, he claimed. But he later backtracked on the story because, Mr Shamy alleged, he was scared that the mob were out to get him.

While it was likely that others played bigger roles than Fawcett in the killing, there was no doubt that he was involved, making him at least party to the murder.

And there was no doubt that whoever killed Miss Manning, had murderous intent.

The court has heard evidence that four separate injuries could've killed her. It was a "determined and sustained assault", Mr Shamy said.

Fawcett will give his closing address later today before Justice David Gendall sends the jury home for a three-day weekend.

The judge will give his summing up on Monday before the jury begins its deliberations.

- by Kurt Bayer

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