16 Apr 2014

Guilty plea on Amy Farrall murder

9:45 pm on 16 April 2014

Aaron Rhys McDonald has pleaded guilty to the rape and murder of a Christchurch community worker and attacks on two backpackers on the West Coast while on parole.

Amy Farrall and her dog Chop.

Amy Farrall and her dog Chop. Photo: FARRALL FAMILY

The body of Amy Farrall, 24, was found in the boot of a car in a supermarket carpark in the Christchurch suburb of Woolston on 30 March.

McDonald then went on a violent rampage, attacking two tourists who were hitchhiking on the West Coast. Niki Honda, a 27-year-old of Japanese/Dutch origin, and Michaela Brandl, 28, from Germany suffered stab wounds and broken bones in the attack on 30 March.

The 38-year-old was finally arrested in the early hours of the following day, after a 90-minute police chase and a five-hour armed standoff.

At the High Court in Christchurch on Wednesday, McDonald admitted raping and killing Ms Farrall.

He also pleaded guilty to using a metal bar to rob the two tourists, causing grievous bodily harm to Ms Honda by pushing her out of a moving car and a further charge of wounding Ms Brandl by stabbing her in the neck with a knife. McDonald admitted a charge of reckless driving relating to the pursuit.

McDonald was nine months off completing a five-year and three month sentence for manufacturing methamphetamine, burglary, theft, fraud and arson when the Parole Board approved his release in October 2013.

The board said that, provided he was carefully managed, his risk to the community over the remaining nine months of his sentence could be adequately mitigated.

Two weeks ago, a Department of Corrections spokesperson said McDonald had complied with his parole conditions up until the last time he reported to them in mid-March.

McDonald has been remanded in custody and ordered to appear for sentencing on 24 July.