1 Oct 2019

Man who pleaded not guilty to murder of Christchurch man Michael McGrath loses bail bid

3:14 pm on 1 October 2019

The man charged with the murder of Christchurch man Michael McGrath, who went missing two and a half years ago, has pleaded not guilty.

Michael McGrath

Michael McGrath Photo: NZ Police

David Benbow was arrested on his 51st birthday yesterday and charged with murder using a firearm.

He will remain in custody until his next court appearance on 18 October, despite a bail application being made by his lawyer, Margaret Sewell.

At his second appearance in the Christchurch District Court this afternoon Judge Raoul Neave declined the bail application.

Family of Mr McGrath and Mr Benbow were both present in court today.

Mr McGrath, a 49-year-old builder, was last seen at his Halswell home. His body has still not been found.

Mr McGrath's brother Simon said police called the family on Sunday night and told them an arrest was imminent.

He said the two and a half years since his brother vanished had been gruelling.

"Ah, well, it's pretty much a road to hell isn't it. You wake up one day and your life changes and ever since then, you're not quite the same.

"It's been a rollercoaster ride and every time something happens to do with the case it all starts over again.

He said he had never lost hope, and the police had been good to them, keeping them updated.

"They've kept us informed about what steps they were taking, and so we've never given up hope and personally I felt that they seemed to be tracking okay with the case."

He said the family still wanted Mr McGrath's body brought home.

"Clearly they've got an arrest there now so that person will have, likely, some answers."