Homicide investigation launched

Family: 'Caring nature taken advantage of'

NICOLE MATHEWSON, ASHLEIGH STEWART AND BLAIR ENSOR
Last updated 16:32 31/03/2014
DANIEL TOBIN/Fairfax NZ

Detective Inspector Tom Fitzgerald updates media on the investigation into the death of Amy Farrall.

Amy Farrall
Supplied
MUCH-LOVED: Amy Farrall with her dog Chop.
Woolston New World
KIRK HARGREAVES/Fairfax NZ
CRIME SCENE: Police at the Woolston New World.
Woolston New World
KIRK HARGREAVES/Fairfax NZ
FORENSIC TEAM: Police at the scene in the Woolston New World carpark.

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Police say a man arrested on the West Coast was known to the woman whose body was found in a car outside a Christchurch supermarket.

This death has been linked to a violent assault on two tourists hitchhiking on the West Coast.

Police have launched a homicide investigation after the body of Amy Elizabeth Farrall, 24, was found in a car late on Sunday afternoon. She had been missing since Saturday morning. 

At a press conference in Christchurch this morning, Detective Inspector Tom Fitzgerald said the man arrested on the West Coast was known to Farrall.

Christchurch police had already identified the blue Nissan Terrano as a vehicle of interest when it was noticed by police on the West Coast in connected with the two hitchhikers found injured in Franz Josef.

Fitzgerald said police believed Farrall's car had been in the Woolston supermarket car park since about 10am on Saturday.

Investigations into her movements before her disappearance were ongoing, he said.

"It's early days. We've got a number of scenes to do and the post-mortem will be conducted [today]."

Police are seeking sightings of the dark-coloured Nissan Terrano, registration WR4174, between Christchurch and the West Coast, but also around Woolston, including Wildberry St where Farrall lived, and elsewhere in Christchurch on Saturday.

The Terrano was being driven by a 38-year-old man arrested early this morning near Franz Joseph after a stand-off with police.

Detective senior sergeant Darryl Sweeney said the man received injuries, including dog bites, during the arrest and may be transferred to Christchurch Hospital.

Sweeney said no charges had been laid and no court appearance were scheduled.

Police were also looking for information about Farrall's car, a white Toyota Corolla, registration WR2685, between 9 and 10am Saturday near Farrall's home in Wildberry St, along Ferry Rd and through to where it was found at the Woolston New World in St Johns St,.

A number of sightings have already been reported to police.

An autopsy was under-way in Christchurch this afternoon. Sweeney said police would not comment on the nature of any injuries.

Call Christchurch police on 03 363 7400, or anonymously to Crimestoppers 0800 555 111.

FAMILY 'DEVASTATED, SHATTERED'

A statement released by Farrall's family this afternoon said she was a "kind and caring girl" who was much loved by her many friends and close family.

"Amy loved her animals and was always helping people in need. She worked as a caregiver for Richmond Fellowship in Christchurch.

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"As a family we are devastated that her caring nature appears to have been tragically taken advantage of."

The statement said the family were "shattered" by Farrall's death.

They requested privacy as they tried to process what had happened.

Friends have taken to social media to express their shock and grief after police found her car in the supermarket car park. 

Her partner wrote that Farrall was his "beautiful soul mate". "I love you with all my heart. I know your watching over me and will always be by my side. Fly high and be happy and smile down on us," he said.

Another friend said Farrall had "so much heart to give". "Such a beautiful soul, and she was a great friend," they wrote.

Farrall began working as a community support worker with Richmond New Zealand after completing a certificate in mental health support work at CPIT in 2011.

She was a former Lincoln High School pupil.

MISSING WOMAN'S HOME SEARCHED

Police have also been searching a home in Wildberry St where it is understood Farrall lived with another woman.

A 42-year-old neighbour said he first saw police at the home on Saturday evening. Since then he had watched as investigators removed bags full of items from the property.

Police told him they were concerned about a young woman who lived there who had gone missing.

Fears were sparked when she failed to pick up someone from prison, the resident said he was told. The man said he was shocked to learn about the homicide "especially in your own backyard". "It's unbelievable."

WOOLSTON NEW WORLD LOCKDOWN

The Woolston New World in St Johns Rd was shut down late yesterday afternoon as forensic teams examined a white Toyota Corolla in the supermarket car park.

The supermarket was in lockdown as police and forensic teams combed the area. The store was shut and staff members were held inside for over an hour before being sent home early.

Officers obscured the car with a tarpaulin as they opened the boot, before it was towed away. A decorative pink stiletto hung from the car's rear vision mirror.

Concerned parents arrived to pick up their children working at the supermarket but were turned away.

A New World Woolston owner Greg Boock said the supermarket was closed yesterday afternoon after police swarmed the area and staff were sent home. "It obviously escalated pretty quick."

The supermarket reopened at 7am today.

- Fairfax Media

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