The Google history of a butcher accused of murdering Christchurch Renee Duckmanton “deeply implicates” him, the Crown says, with alleged searches for kidnapping and necrophilia, and an article entitled, ‘How to kidnap a girl: an informative guide’.
Sainey Marong, a 33-year-old originally from Gambia, picked up Duckmanton from Christchurch red light district, before strangling her to death, dumping her body on the side of a country road, and setting her on fire, the High Court in Christchurch heard today.
Marong denies murdering Duckmanton on or about May 14, 2016.
The Crown outlined its “overwhelming” evidence in an opening address to a jury of nine women and three men this afternoon.
Crown prosecutor Sean Mallett says Duckmanton left her Cashmere home for work at 8.09pm on May 14, 2016.
She was picked up by her minder and went to her usual corner at the intersection of Manchester and Peterborough streets.
Duckmanton, the court heard, text her boyfriend at 9.05pm to say she had a job paying $100.
The Crown alleges the client was Marong.
CCTV will show, Mallett said, a silver Audi belonging to Marong driving past her corner several times before eventually picking her up.
Eight minutes later, Duckmanton phoned her boyfriend again to say the client wanted to go back to his house, and that job was now worth $300. She also texted her minder.
The Crown alleges it has CCTV footage and evidence of Marong getting $300 out of a cash machine.
A final text to her boyfriend was sent at 10.23pm. It then went to voicemail after that and her phone has never been recovered.
The following day, at around 7.30pm, members of the public noticed a fire on the grass verge at Main Rakaia Rd, near State Highway 1.
They stopped and made the grisly discovery of Duckmanton’s half-naked and burning body.
During the police scene examination of Operation Lightning, they found a lighter, beanie, and “bizarrely”, Mallett said, a sheep’s tongue. They are all allegedly linked to Marong.
A halal butcher will give evidence that on the day of the murder, Marong had a sheep slaughtered, and will allege that he removed the animal’s tongue with knives he had bought with him.
Testing shows the tongue found where Duckmanton’s body was found is from the same sheep slaughtered that day.
DNA samples taken from Duckmanton belongs to Marong, the Crown alleges.
However, Mallett said while it suggests sexual intercourse took place, it can’t be determined whether it happened before or after her death.
Duckmanton’s hair was also allegedly found in Marong’s car, the court heard, and in his vacuum cleaner.
The Crown alleged that the day after her body was found, he bought cleaning products and rubbish bags.
Police examinations of Marong’s mobile phone, the Crown alleges, “deeply implicates” him in the murder.
Weeks before the alleged murder, the Crown says Marong searched for what kidnappers use to make people unconscious, chloroform, and is claimed to have clicked on an article entitled, ‘How to kidnap a girl: an informative guide’.
There were also multiple searches about necrophilia, including a “man having sex with dead body”.
Marong was arrested on May 26, 2016.
When interviewed, he exercised his right to silence to most questions except at one stage when he said he had been “mentally and physically unwell”, the Crown alleges.
While awaiting trial in custody, Marong is alleged to have told a Corrections officer, “If I was in my own country, I would be taken outside and killed for what I did”.
He also allegedly told a prison guard when asked why he did it, that it was “like hunting in the wild”, and that it was “brutal what I did to her. She didn’t deserve it”.
Marong is represented by defence counsel Jonathan Krebs.
In a short opening address, Krebs encouraged the jury to keep an open mind.
What they will hear during the trial may best be understood and rationalised through “a lens of mental imbalance”, the lawyer said.
The High Court trial is the first to be held at Christchurch’s new courthouse, part of the $300 million justice and emergency services precinct.
Justice Cameron Mander earlier instructed jurors to set aside any feeling of prejudice or sympathy and to remain entirely objective.
The trial is expected to hear from more than 80 witnesses and is set down for three weeks.