Christchurch sex workers staying off the streets after death of Renee Duckmanton

Charlie Mitchell/ Fairfax NZ

Detective Inspector Darryl Sweeney speaks to media on Wednesday.

Christchurch's sex working community is "shattered", as police continue to investigate the death of Renee Larissa Duckmanton.

A member of the public found the 22-year-old's body after spotting a scrub fire on Main Rakaia Rd, near State Highway 1, on Sunday night.

Anna Reed, from the New Zealand Prostitutes Collective, spoke with several sex workers on Wednesday after police confirmed Duckmanton was last seen working on Manchester St on Saturday night.

Renee Duckmanton, right, pictured with her mother, Tracy. Duckmanton's body was found in rural Canterbury on Sunday.

Renee Duckmanton, right, pictured with her mother, Tracy. Duckmanton's body was found in rural Canterbury on Sunday.

"They didn't really seem to know [Duckmanton's death] might be linked to a client . . . but when we talked about that they were obviously more concerned," Reed said.

"Some people that we expected to see last night weren't there at all, they just don't want to be out on the street until an arrest is made."

Renee Duckmanton last seen alive on Manchester St – police
Killed woman Renee Duckmanton's body found badly burnt near Rakaia River
Homicide inquiry launched after woman's body found near Rakaia River in Canterbury

Police carry out a scene examination at the Bowenvale Ave property where Renee Duckmanton lived.

Police carry out a scene examination at the Bowenvale Ave property where Renee Duckmanton lived.

There have been three recent murders of sex workers in Christchurch: Ngatai "Mallory" Manning in 2008; Suzie Sutherland in 2005: and a 24-year-old, who has permanent name suppression, also in 2005.

"We're absolutely shattered," Reed said.

"It's just unbelievable this has happened four times now, it takes a toll on everybody in that community."

Renee Duckmanton with her nephew.

Renee Duckmanton with her nephew.

Reed said there was a text alert system in place for sex workers to use if they had a "dodgy client" or if someone was abusing them. Duckmanton was not in the database.

Ad Feedback


One of Duckmanton's friends, who did not want to be named, said she visited the 22-year-old at her Bowenvale Ave home just before noon on Saturday.

"She had just woken up I think so [she was] quiet. She was in the lounge with [her friend's girlfriend] having a smoke . . . they seemed fine."

She said Duckmanton was a "very caring person" who always put others first.

"She was very generous, good with [her boyfriend's] daughter, knew how to have a laugh and was a bubbly, beautiful girl.

"I think people misunderstood her; I think she trusted me and opened up a lot to me.

"She honestly didn't deserve this. All she wanted was the best for everyone and to make her boyfriend happy."


On Wednesday, police said they had pinpointed the 22-year-old's last known movements to Manchester St on Saturday night.

It appeared they were considering whether the sex worker's killer could have been one of her clients.

Detective Inspector Darryl Sweeney said Duckmanton was seen around the intersection of Manchester and Peterborough streets from 8pm to 10pm on Saturday. 

Sweeney appealed for anyone who saw her in the area on Saturday night to contact police "even if they saw Renee for a brief minute".

Police were speaking to sex workers, as well as "persons of interest".

"Police now believe Renee's work in the sex industry may have been a factor in her death," Sweeney said. 

"However, we continue to remind the public that she was a vibrant 22 year-old who was a much loved daughter, sister, and member of her family."

Police had increased patrols in the Manchester St area. 


Duckmanton's grieving mother paid tribute to her "kind, sweet and trusting" daughter.

"She was also bubbly, goofy and loved everyone she interacted with," Tracy Duckmanton said.

"She will always be remembered by her beautiful smile and will be missed by us all."?

On Wednesday afternoon, Duckmanton's family released a joint statement appealing for anyone who had information about her death to contact police.

"Every day, Renee's bright spirit will be missed by those who are blessed to have had her in their life," they said.

"She was, and will always be, loved and cherished by many."

The family only learned that she had been a sex worker when police told them on Tuesday night.

"[Renee] knew we were all here to try help her down the right path. It's just one of those things that slipped through the cracks. We didn't know it had got that bad."?

Anyone with information was asked to call police on 03 363 7400 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

 - Stuff

Ad Feedback
special offers
Ad Feedback