Mixed future for notorious houses

Last updated 05:00 22/07/2012
MURDERED: Hayden Miles (pictured).

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The house police combed for clues after the murder of Christchurch teenager Hayden Miles is for sale, but a former tenant says it should be demolished.

The Cashel St house is divided into five one-bedroom units and is on the market for $429,000, with advice a buyer could "polish or demolish" the old villa.

Brendon O'Donnell, who lived in one of the units, said he thought the building should be demolished and replaced with townhouses.

He moved out about two months ago after having enough of problems in the area, including having a brick thrown through a window and thefts from his garage.

"It attracts too much scum. I was so glad to get out of there."

Hayden's mother, Jacqui Miles, said she was "very upset" hearing the house was for sale. "It is a constant reminder to me and my family of what Hayden went through the night he was killed."

His body was found at a cemetery in Linwood four months after his death, which police believe occured on August 22 last year.

Gavin John Gosnell, 27, unemployed, had been charged with murder before the body was found, and goes to trial next year.

Other houses connected to Christchurch homicides are also on the market.

The Waltham house where 65-year-old Kenneth John Moore was killed on January 6 is listed at offers over $220,000. Christopher Glenn Gleeson has been jailed for life for his murder.

Moore's daughter, Dianne Christie, said a few people had expressed interest in the house since it went on the market in May.

The family was "honest and upfront" with potential buyers about what had happened.

A "beautiful" blessing ceremony was held at the house after it was released back to the family by police, she said. "We had plenty of fun times in that house with dad. It would make a neat wee home for someone."

Real Estate Institute regional director Tony McPherson said it was difficult to find any case law or judgements regarding whether agents were required to tell buyers if a serious crime was committed on a property. But he believed it was "common sense" and "only fair" for agents to inform buyers .

"It depends how recently something occurred. Something years ago may not [need disclosing], and sometimes we may not even have knowledge of it."

The Travis Rd home where a woman's body was found last week had also been on the market, listed by McPherson's company, A J McPherson and Associates. He said the house had been for sale before the woman died, and had since been taken off the market.

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Meanwhile, the Aranui property, once home to "the House of Horrors", looks set to be purchased by the Christchurch City Council. Jason Somerville murdered his wife Rebecca, and neighbour Tisha Lowry, and buried both women under the floorboards. The house and an adjoining property were demolished in early 2010 after repeated arson attempts.

Council corporate support manager Sue Chappell said the council's solicitor was preparing contracts to buy the properties, and a council spokesman said it would be "inappropriate" to discuss possible plans before council and community board input.

In 2010, Christchurch mayor Bob Parker said he had talked to several agencies about redeveloping the site, with proposals including building community or kaumatua housing, and a memorial park.

- Sunday Star Times

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