Families consult on 'house of horrors' design

NICOLE MATHEWSON
Last updated 15:01 03/01/2014
Christchurch house of horrors
Don Scott/Fairfax NZ

TRAGIC SITE: The demolished "house of horrors" on the corner of Hampshire St and Wainoni Rd.

Tisha Lowry
Supplied
LOSS: Tisha Lowry was killed in September 2008.
Rebecca Chamberlain
Supplied
KILLED: Rebecca Chamberlain was the wife of now-convicted murderer Jason Somerville.

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The mother of a woman murdered at a Christchurch property dubbed "the house of horrors" hopes the site will be turned into a memorial garden.

The property where Tisha Lowry and Rebecca Chamberlain were found slain on September 4, 2009, was purchased by the Christchurch City Council in 2012 to be turned into a public space.

A council spokesman today said the women's families were being consulted on three proposed landscaping plans for the site, on the corner of Hampshire St and Wainoni Rd.

''Because of the sensitivity of the site, the council wants to consult with the families of the victims and with the community before releasing any plans,'' he said.

Tanya Lowry said she hoped the property where her daughter Tisha was killed would become a memorial garden where people could sit and reflect.

''It won't be a playground if I have anything to do with it.''

She had not visited the site since her daughter was found and was not sure if she would after the landscaping work was done.

''I don't even like driving past it so I don't go and visit it. There's a lot of people who might like to though.''
She had not yet seen the council's three proposed designs, but hoped the finished park would be a ''nice one with a wee seat and some shrubs''.

''It will be somewhere nice hopefully one day.''

The final design is expected to come back to the Burwood-Pegasus Community Board by the end of March and work on the site is scheduled to be completed by the end of June.

Christchurch man Jason Somerville was sentenced to 23 years jail without parole for the murder of 33-year-old Chamberlain, his wife, and 28-year-old Lowry.

The women's bodies were found under the floor of Somerville's flat a month after he had killed Chamberlain. Lowry had been killed in September 2008 after she went missing while out walking.

The house, along with an adjoining unit, were later subjected to several arsons before both were demolished in January 2010.

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