27 May 2016

Christchurch sex workers relieved by arrest

10:11 am on 27 May 2016

The arrest of a man over the murder of Renee Duckmanton is a relief to Christchurch sex workers, but they are shaken by her death, says the Prostitutes' Collective.

A 31-year-old man has appeared appear in court in Christchurch today, charged with her murder.

Police have released the latest known image of Renee Duckmanton.

Police have released the latest known image of Renee Duckmanton. Photo: Supplied / Police

The body of Ms Duckmanton, who was 22, was found on Main Rakaia Road on Sunday 15 May.

She had last been seen in the Manchester Street / Peterborough Street area in Christchurch the night before.

Police announced last night a man, 31, had been arrested and charged with her murder.

Prostitutes' Collective spokesperson Catherine Healy said the fact that there had been an arrest was a relief to Christchurch sex workers.

Ms Healy said when other sex workers heard about her death, the distress was palpable.

"When you're a street-based sex worker, I think you are certainly at greater risk of the unknown."

Detective Inspector Darryl Sweeney said police believed her job in the sex-industry could be linked with her death and had been treating her death as a homicide.

"While we are unable to go into any details ahead of the court process, police do have reason to believe that the death of Renee was related to the sex industry in central Christchurch," Mr Sweeney said.

"It is important that we acknowledge the continued victimisation of the women working on Manchester Street, and police will be working with other agencies to consider what measures can be put in place to address this."

Mr Sweeney said while the arrest would not offer any solace, it was an important step for the family as they continued to grieve.

"I would like to thank them for their assistance and patience over the last 12 days as police have worked through their investigation."

Mr Sweeney said the family had asked for privacy, but had issued a statement.

"Renee was a bright, bubbly, goofy young woman, who was very kind and trusting. Renee was deeply loved by her family and many friends and she will be greatly missed," it said.

Mr Sweeney said forensic specialists had also seized cars from across Christchurch, and four properties were also being examined.

The police were still appealing for information on the case, including any sightings of a silver Audi in the Manchester Street area on Saturday 14 May from 8pm, or the Rakaia area on 15 May between 6pm and 8pm.

They said the vehicle may have travelled to Templeton via Riccarton Road that evening.

Police also wanted to speak to occupants of a light-coloured vehicle seen on Main Road in Rakaia on Sunday, 15 May about 7.40pm.

Mr Sweeney said the last known image of Ms Duckmanton, taken from CCTV footage, showed her walking on Petersborough Street shortly after 9pm on the Saturday night.

Canterbury police said on Monday they had been making good progress on the investigation.

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