Woman tells murder trial of being followed

A woman has told of being followed home from work late at night by a car driven by Sainey Marong, about six weeks before he is accused of murdering a sex worker.

The woman, who has name suppression, gave evidence from behind a screen on the third day of Marong’s trial in the High Court at Christchurch on a charge of murdering Renee Larissa Duckmanton, 22.

Miss Duckmanton’s body was found burning at the scene of a scrub fire near Rakaia in May 2016. Marong, a 33-year-old butcher from Ilam, denies the murder charge.

The witness said that in early April, she left work about 10.30pm in St Albans, to drive home in her car. When she was on Moorhouse Avenue she noticed a silver Audi – the car the Crown says Marong drove at the time of the alleged murder – travelling behind her, sometimes with its lights off, and sometimes pulling over briefly.

She called star-555 on her cellphone and reported the driver to the police, and then stayed on the phone while she travelled to Hornby.

The police said a patrol car had been sent and she should keep driving around until they caught up.

She pulled into a service station but the Audi stopped outside and continued following when she drove out.

Between five and 10 minutes later, a patrol car caught up and she pulled over when she saw its flashing lights. The police later told her they had spoken to the driver.

A constable gave evidence of being sent to check the report of a car being driven slowly, with its lights on and off. He expected to find a drunk-driver.

He caught up with the cars on Buchanans Road, at 11.13pm and activated his car’s lights and siren. The silver Audi stopped.

Sainey Marong produced a full licence, and was the registered owner of the car. A breath-test showed no alcohol present.

Marong said he sometimes drove around at night because it helped him to relax, he said. Marong said he had been driving aimlessly and denied following any car.

The constable gave him a verbal warning about his driving, but did not issue a traffic ticket.

The trial is continuing. It began on Monday with a list of more than 100 Crown witnesses to be called. Forty witnesses were deleted from the list on Tuesday, and another five were crossed off today, at the request of Crown prosecutor Pip Currie. The trial did not sit on Wednesday.

The trial, before Justice Cameron Mander and a jury, is being held in Court 12 at the Christchurch Justice Precinct.

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