Manning murder accused: 'My life is on the line here'

Mauha Fawcett
Mauha Fawcett
If gang prospect Mauha Fawcett knew who killed Mellory Manning he would've given them up to police, he told court today in an impassioned plea.

"My life is on the line here... I've got nothing to gain from the Mongrel Mob," Fawcett said on day 17 of his murder trial in the High Court at Christchurch.

Fawcett, 26, known within gang circles as 'Muck Dog', denies murdering the Christchurch sex worker.

He is representing himself in court with assistance by an amicus curiae.

Fawcett 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 mutilated and partially naked body was discovered floating in the Avon River the day after she was killed.

Today, a former Mongrel Mob member was recalled to court to be cross-examined by Fawcett himself.

The witness, who has name suppression, had earlier said Fawcett had told him he'd been at the Galbraith Ave gang-pad when she was killed and that he had stabbed her once.

Fawcett denied making a confession to murder.

The witness again said that he had, and claimed that Fawcett had even showed him court paperwork which backed up his story.

"You also told me ... your life was on the line with the Mongrel Mob," the witness said.

"You were fearing for your own life, what they would do to you. What did I tell you back then? Give them up."

Fawcett replied: "If I knew who it was, I would've put them up there all right. I've got nothing to gain from the Mongrel Mob."

Fawcett told Justice David Gendall that he was not happy with how his amicus curiae, lawyer Craig Ruane, cross-examined the witness last time, and that's why he wanted the witness recalled.

"My life is on the line and in this witness' hands and he's coming in and accusing me of this. I did not say that to this witness."

The witness stuck by his claims.

He went on to tell the court that the day Miss Manning's body was found, there was a meeting called at the mob house.

Afterwards, Fawcett "freaked out", stole one of the gangster's cars, and disappeared, he claimed.

"You know, he couldn't handle the pressure."

The trial continues.