15 Mar 2021

How detectives discovered Denver Chance's body hidden in a freezer

6:26 pm on 15 March 2021

A detective has recounted the lead up to the discovery of Denver Chance's body in a chest freezer.

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Photo: Supplied

Jay Lingman is on trial in the High Court at Auckland charged with Chance's murder in 2019.

He denies murdering Chance by fatally shooting him but has pleaded guilty to three charges of possession of drugs for supply.

The Crown argues the accused shot Chance three times in the head, before using a chainsaw to fit the body in a chest freezer.

The Crown said Lingman attempted to cover up the crime by using a waterblaster to clean up the blood and buying a shipping container to hide Chance's distinctive red Nissan Skyline car.

Meanwhile, the defence argues the two men were drug dealers and Lingman was acting in self defence after Chance believed he was being ripped off and turned up with a shotgun.

A cell phone video taken by Detective Sergeant Timothy Williams during the search for Denver Chance was played in court today.

The video showed the walk down the 300m-long driveway to the defendant's house in Kingseat, south of Auckland. It showed the accused answer his front door and welcoming the officers inside.

Photographs from outside the cordon at the crime scene in Kingseat.

Photographs from outside the cordon at the discovery of Chance's body in Kingseat. Photo: RNZ / Cole Eastham-Farrelly

In the video, the accused apologised for his messy house and said he was cleaning up for his partner who was due to return from overseas.

Answering questions from Crown prosecutor Gareth Kayes, Detective Sergeant Williams said the front steps of the house were wet and smelt strongly of bleach or a similar cleaning agent.

He said Lingman seemed jittery and nervous during the visit and his hands were shaking to the point he struggled to use his phone in order to jog his memory on what he had been doing the day Chance went missing.

Lingman was asked whether he had any information that could aid police in the search for Chance and the accused said he did not.

The officers left and later came back with a search warrant. The defendant was nowhere to be seen and no one else was home when they returned.

During a sweep of the property, the officers found a chest freezer inside a shed.

Both noticed what appeared to be blood on one side of the freezer and found what they believed to be Chance's body inside.

Friends who saw Lingman between the time of the shooting and of his arrest reported no noticeable change in his behaviour.

A friend of the defendant, Shane Mathison, lent Lingman a water blaster which the Crown alleges he used to clean up blood from the scene.

Mathison said the accused visited him at his East Tamaki office between the shooting and his arrest.

He said there was no change to the accused's demeanour, he was "calm and charismatic" and had "casual banter" with office staff.

The trial before Justice Melanie Harland and a jury of eight men and four women continues.