Trial hears of Mob's sex worker tax

Mauha Huataki Fawcett in court. Photo: John Kirk-Anderson/ The Press / Fairfax NZ
Mauha Huataki Fawcett in court. Photo: John Kirk-Anderson/ The Press / Fairfax NZ
Mongrel Mob members were "all over" Manchester Street the night sex worker Ngatai 'Mellory' Manning was killed, a fellow prostitute told the High Court in Christchurch today.

The woman, whose identity is suppressed, said she was working on the street on the night of December 18, 2008, the night the Crown alleges Ms Manning was raped, bashed and stabbed at a Mongrel Mob gang pad before her mutilated body was dumped in the Avon River.

Gang prospect Mauha Huataki Fawcett, 26, has denied Ms Manning's murder, claiming police pressured him into making false confessions that he was present when she was killed over a drug debt.

The Crown alleged Fawcett, known as "Muck Dog", either took part in the killing or was there as a party to her murder.

In evidence read to the court before Justice David Gendall and a jury of six men and six women today, the sex worker said she knew Mellory only by her first name.

She said she was working as a prostitute on December 18.

"Suddenly the Mob were all over the street, hitting up all the girls for $20 each," the woman said in her brief of evidence.

She said Mob members would come up to her "after a job" demanding a $20 "tax".

They said they were the Mongrel Mob and that they owned the street, she said.

She was to pay the Mob $20 for each client, she had.

The woman said a street worker called Holly who she knew was associated with the Mongrel Mob pulled up in a dark coloured four-door car with tinted windows and told her to get into the vehicle. She refused.

"I thought if I got in the car no-one would see me again."

The street worker said she had met the "Mob guys" about four months before Mellory died, and recognised Fawcett as "Muck Dog".

Another street worker, whose name is also suppressed, said in evidence that the Manchester Street red light area was divided into four sections - one of which was designated as a Mongrel Mob area.

"I didn't like the Mob," she said. "I tried to stay neutral."

The trial is expected to take six weeks, with about 100 witnesses scheduled to give evidence.

- Cullen Smith of The Star