Murder accused backtracked on story

A month after telling police he took part in the brutal murder of Christchurch prostitute Mellory Manning, Mongrel Mob prospect Mauha Fawcett backtracked on his story.

"It just feels like it's so easy for the Mob to get me. It's just been really hard on me for the last few weeks ... The mob can kill me anytime,'' he later told police.

Mauha Huataki Fawcett, 26, known within gang circles as 'Muck Dog', denies murder and is representing himself with assistance from an amicus curiae at a High Court trial in Christchurch.

He claims police pressured him into making false confessions that he was present when city sex worker Miss Manning, 27, was killed on or about December 18, 2008 over an alleged debt.

On Friday, Fawcett claimed police offered him protection from the Mob, a safehouse, a gang bulldog tattoo removed from his right cheek, and a cash reward if he helped lead them to Miss Manning's killers. He also claimed police "coached'' him into a confession.

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

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

Over the next nine months, Fawcett was interviewed five times by police, who initially treated him as a potential source of information.

It wasn't until August 2009 that he was formally interviewed and he confessed to being present when Miss Manning was bashed, raped, and stabbed.

But he later backtracked from his earlier version of events, saying he wasn't present during the attack.

During a third formal interview, on September 19, 2009, he told Detective Inspector Tom Fitzgerald that another mobster killed Miss Manning.

The four-hour interview was played in its entirety to the jury today.

In the recording, Fawcett is initially reluctant to speak, fearing the gang will get him for narking.

But Mr Fitzgerald urges him to tell the truth and get the story straight.

"I never hit her, Tom,'' Fawcett tells the senior officer.

"You told us you did. Why did you include yourself in that then?'' Mr Fitzgerald asks.

"I just felt that if I put myself in there, then maybe I can just stay away from the rest of the Mongrel Mob,'' the murder accused replies.

The trial, before Justice David Gendall, continues.

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