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Manning murder accused appears in court

16:46 Thu Mar 29 2012
Police will reveal
Police will reveal "major developments" in the Mallory Manning murder case which remains unsolved since her brutal death in 2008

A 24-year-old unemployed man charged with the murder of Christchurch prostitute Mellory Manning has made a brief appearance in the Auckland District Court.

Mauha Huatahi Fawcett has been charged with the kidnap and murder of Ms Manning in December 2008.

He has been remanded in custody until Monday, when he will reappear in the Christchurch District Court.

A police application to have proceedings transferred to Christchurch was granted by Judge Brooke Gibson.

Duty lawyer appearing on behalf of Fawcett, Lincoln Burns, told the court name suppression was not being sought because Fawcett says he did not commit the crimes he is accused of.

A media application to film in court was declined.

Christchurch Detective Inspector Greg Williams, the officer in charge of the case, revealed an arrest had been at a media briefing on earlier on Thursday.

Police say the accused has "definite" links to the Galbraith Avenue property - which served as a Mongrel Mob "pad" at the time of the alleged murder - where it is alleged Ms Manning was murdered.

However, Christchurch Detective Inspector Greg Williams, the officer in charge of the case, told media at a press conference on Thursday afternoon that other people were involved in Ms Manning's murder and kidnapping.

"From evidence gathered it is clear that a number of people have been involved in either the kidnapping or murder of Ms Manning," he said.

"The inquiry is continuing to identify all persons who were responsible for her death, or were accessories after the fact, so that they can be brought to justice."

Det Insp Williams says police will be interviewing a number of people associated with the accused over the next few days.

He says Ms Manning's former partner and immediate family were pleased with the recent developments.

Ngatai Lynette Manning, 27, also known as Mellory, was last seen on December 18, 2008, working as a prostitute on the corner of Manchester and Peterborough streets.

Her beaten and stabbed body was found in the Avon River the next morning.

Through forensics, police established the nearby Galbraith Ave property was the most likely murder scene.

Police have spoken to 500 people of interest, taken more than 1000 statements and received more than 600 calls from the public.

In 2010 police offered a $50,000 reward for information but no one came forward.