Who is Male B in Manning case?

JOELLE DALLY
Last updated 05:00 12/03/2014
Ngatai

Ngatai "Mellory" Manning.

Mauha Huatahi Fawcett
Dean Kozanic
GUILTY: Mauha Huatahi Fawcett, 26, murdered sex worker Mellory Manning.

Relevant offers

Crime

Woman ignored police sirens, lights Man dies following 'violent' struggle Escapee Kenneth Burns arrested in Eltham without incident Papanui AOS callout a 'false alarm' Man 'too drunk for lawyer' loses appeal Interviewees clam up on fatal assault Youths hurl bottles at firefighters on job Murder sparks neighbour nuisance policy Girl blinded in one eye in smashed glass attack Kiwi on drugs charge in Thailand

Who is "Male B"?

After five years and hundreds of DNA tests, police still do not know who raped Mellory Manning on the night she was killed.

His was the only DNA linked to the fatal assault on Manning, 27, at the Mongrel Mob's gang pad at Galbraith Ave, Avonside, on the night of December 18, 2008.

It was obtained from a semen sample recovered from Manning's body.

No-one, not even the Mongrel Mob prospect yesterday convicted of Manning's murder, identified him.

Mauha Huatahi Fawcett, 26, named four patched mobsters when he described the fatal assault to police.

None of them matched the DNA profile of Male B.

Police say they are still obtaining DNA samples in an attempt to identify Male B, from both within the Mongrel Mob and from members of public.

Detective Inspector Greg Williams, who led the murder investigation, said outside court yesterday he was confident police would find this offender.

"We believe this person is clearly involved in this murder. We believe clearly he is closely associated with the Aotearoa Mongrel Mob, or the Mongrel Mob at large," he said.

When Detective Inspector Tom Fitzgerald interviewed Fawcett in 2009, he repeatedly asked him who raped Manning that night.

In his own closing address, Fawcett said he would "never protect Male B" as he had nothing to gain from it.

JUSTICE FOR MELLORY

The mother of killer Mauha Huatahi Fawcett says she warned her son to stay away from the Mongrel Mob but he did not listen.

Now the 26-year-old faces a long prison term - most likely in a protection unit - after a jury found him guilty of murdering Christchurch sex worker Mellory Manning on December 18, 2008.

Speaking from her North Island home, Wena Fawcett, 46, said she believed the Mongrel Mob would try to kill her son in prison as retribution for ''narking'' on patched mobsters over Manning's death. 

''They'll get him, whether he's in protection or not. They are bad people,'' she said. ''He'll get his throat slashed.''

The High Court jury returned its unanimous verdict yesterday after almost six hours of deliberations over two days. Outside court, Manning's brother, Robin, said he was ''ecstatic''.

The guilty verdict was ''the first step'' towards justice for his sister, whose injuries were worse than ''the most gruesome movie'', he said. Police said their inquiry was not over, as others were ''clearly involved'' in her death.  

Detective Inspector Greg Williams, who led the inquiry, said police had a DNA profile of one of the offenders and were confident he would be identified.  

''We certainly intend bringing those people to justice,'' he said.  

Williams became emotional as he paid tribute to his investigation team for their work, and to Manning's family and partner for their ''courage and patience'' over the last five years.

Fawcett, a Mongrel Mob prospect known as ''Mukdogg'', represented himself in defending a charge of murder while the Crown called more than 100 witnesses.

Ad Feedback

The Crown proved Fawcett had been at least a party offender in Manning's fatal bashing, which was motivated by a drug debt.

She was picked up from the corner of Manchester and Peterborough streets about 10.40pm on December 18, 2008 and driven to the Mongrel Mob pad. There, she was raped, stabbed, strangled and bashed with various weapons.

Her body was dumped in the Avon River within about 20 minutes.

The Crown's case hinged on admissions Fawcett made about his involvement. He told police in an interview that he was supposed to carry out a "hit" on Manning to get patched, and hit her with a pole.

He also named four patched Mongrel Mob members and described how they stood around barking and "Sieg heiling" during the assault.

A former Mongrel Mob member also testified that Fawcett admitted to him that he had stabbed Manning.

Fawcett, who has a bulldog tattoo on his cheek, said he made a false confession to police because he was "coached" into it, or that he was high on methamphetamine.

However, the jury rejected Fawcett's claims. They decided Fawcett knew the Mongrel Mob wanted to kill Manning, and helped them do it.

Gang expert Jarrod Gilbert said Fawcett would need to be in prison protection for his entire jail sentence.

Fawcett will be sentenced on May 1.

MUM TOLD FAWCETT ABOUT GANG

Wena Fawcett prefers to think of her son, Mauha, as the child who grew up in Rotorua, not as a Mongrel Mob killer.

The mother-of-three turned off the television when coverage of his murder trial in the High Court in Christchurch was broadcast.

That was easier than listening to details about the role he played in 27-year-old sex worker Mellory Manning's slaying.

"It's horrifying. I have nightmares. Every night I'm thinking of that poor girl. My heart goes out to her, to her family," Wena Fawcett said.

Mauha Fawcett was raised predominantly by his father, Mark Toa, after Toa and Wena Fawcett separated when Mauha was 7 months old, she said.

He and his father lived with the Ngati Pikiao tribe in Rotorua.

She described her son as a quiet, "smiling, character, hard case" child.

"He wasn't brought up with nice stuff. He was happy with what he had."

The middle child of three, Mauha Fawcett was "always a follower" and the one being picked on by his cousins, she said. Mauha Fawcett attended Whangamarino School and played rugby league for Pikiao when he was about 7 or 8 years old.

Mark Toa died aged 55, from a bad heart and a gangrene leg.

The trial heard Fawcett left school at 13 to pick tomatoes in Australia.

Wena Fawcett said her son also lived with her sister, in Hastings, from about age 15.

She had always imagined her son would become a farmer as he was good with animals. However, by 17, he was serving jail time for robbery and traffic offences, she said.

The trial heard Fawcett became a prospect for the Aotearoa Mongrel Mob chapter a month before Manning's murder. He had just turned 21.

Another relative said Mauha Fawcett had uncles and cousins in the Mongrel Mob so it was "pretty much inevitable" he would go down the same path.

Wena Fawcett said she always told her son to "be your own leader", but he did not listen. "We didn't choose that [gang] life for him. He chose it himself. These young ones like to test the water themselves. He chose it himself." 

'METHOD' SOLVED CASE

The lead investigator into the murder of Mellory Manning says yesterday's verdict was the result of "methodical" police work in challenging circumstances.

Detective Inspector Greg Williams said a core team of seven detectives, out of an original 40, have been working on the case, called Operation Dallington, since Manning's body was discovered in the Avon River on December 19, 2008. "We basically started with the finding of Ms Manning's body in the river," he said. There was limited forensic evidence, no witness sightings, and very bad weather arrived the day her body was found, which potentially destroyed evidence at an outdoor murder scene.

"This type of murder, where no-one sees anything, is the most difficult to solve and not having a scene of attack made it even more difficult," Williams said.

There was no "magic bullet" that led police to Fawcett's prosecution.

"It took methodical detective work . . . to piece together what had happened to Mellory." "I am proud of how my team has worked . . . to get to this point." He also applauded the bravery of civilian witnesses.

- The Press

Special offers

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content