Arrest after body found in Christchurch

Last updated 22:49 21/07/2013

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A woman's death at a Spreydon council housing unit is a "terrible tragedy", says one of her neighbours.

The woman, who police have named as Valmai Jean McFie, 67, was found after police received calls from a resident of the Macgibbon Pl complex about 6.30pm on Saturday. 

A 59-year old Christchurch man was located at the complex and arrested without incident, police said.

Detective Senior Sergeant Brian Archer said the man had been charged with assault in relation to the incident, and will appear in the Christchurch District Court on Monday. Late tonight the charge was upgraded to murder.

Macgibbon Pl resident David Walker, who lives opposite the dead woman's flat, heard arguing near the complex carpark last night.

Himself and three other residents who all lived close to the woman's unit were taken to the police station to give a statement then put into a motel for the night. 

Walker described his neighbour's death as an "absolute tragedy".

"We were neighbourly friends and we would talk...she was very easy to get along with. It's all so tragic."

He said McFie was originally from Australia, was single and had no children.

Archer said a resident found the body of the woman lying outside on the grass.

"We have a reasonable understanding of who we think she is, but until we actually get into the scene, confirm the identity we are reluctant to release more than that."

Archer would not comment on what injuries the woman had sustained or whether there was a weapon involved. He said a post-moterm would take place later today that would give them more information.

Leanne Adams, who lives in the complex, said the dead woman had lived in the unit for several years.

She said the arrested man was the woman's immediate neighbour.

Adams said she had previously heard yelling and screaming from the woman's unit.

She said she was not friends with either the woman or the man, but knew both well enough to say hello.

Adams was alerted to last night's incident because of the activity in the usually quiet cul de sac.

"There was cops everywhere and lights up and they started putting up the tape and I thought 'oh my God this is serious'... I didn't hear any yelling."

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- Fairfax Media

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