Dates set for three murder trials

21:41, Dec 13 2012
Sameera Chandrasena
KILLED: Sameera Chandrasena.

Dates have been set for the trials of men accused of murdering Mellory Manning, Michelle Mary Lawrence and Sameera Chandrasena.

A four or five-week trial will start on May 20 for Mauha Fawcett, charged with the December 2008 murder of Manning, a Christchurch sex worker.

The 24-year-old unemployed man, who was arrested in Auckland in late March, was in the High Court at Christchurch today for the trial date to be set by Justice Lester Chisholm.

MICHELLE MARY LAWRENCE: Died in hospital after suffering critical injuries.
MICHELLE MARY LAWRENCE: Died in hospital after suffering critical injuries.

The Crown alleges that Manning was beaten to death at a gang property and her body dumped in the Avon River nearby.

Meanwhile, a six-week trial for two men charged with the murder of 28-year-old Sri Lankan Chandrasena at Oxford in February is set to start in the High Court at Christchurch on June 24.

The date was set by Justice Chisholm at a pre-trial session today.


Mellory Manning
MELLORY MANNING: Her badly beaten body was found in the Avon River.

Viraj Alahakoon, 34, a jeweller, and Thuvan Prawesh Sawal, 24, both Sri Lankans living in St Albans, remain in custody pending the trial.

Police allege Chandrasena died of assault before a fire at his house in Domain Rd, Oxford.

On September 23, Timothy Joseph Foley is expected to go on trial for the murder of Lawrence in June.

Foley, an unemployed 52-year-old Linwood man, was charged with Lawrence's murder after she died following about three weeks in hospital.

His trial is expected to take two weeks.

The Press