Murder accused tells of sex worker’s death

Murder accused Sainey Marong has told how he strangled sex worker Renee Larissa Duckmanton in his car at Templeton to stop her yelling after a dispute.

He told the High Court murder trial that he had become “aggressively agitated”, and said: “I didn’t know what I was doing.”

Marong said he was diabetic and “living in a delusional frame of mind” around the time of the killing of Christchurch sex worker, Renee Larissa Duckmanton.

After being questioned about his bizarre web-browsing history, Marong told the trial: “I was deluded. I was living in a whole new world.”

Marong, 33, gave evidence in his defence on the sixth day of the trial before Justice Cameron Mander and a jury in the High Court at Christchurch. He denies the charge of murdering 22-year-old Miss Duckmanton, who was strangled and her body found at a scene of a scrub fire near Rakaia in May 2016.

Defence counsel Jonathan Krebs said Marong had chosen to give evidence, though he did not have to. He told the jury they would hear “very unpleasant and at times bizarre facts”. He said: “I ask you to be fair to Mr Marong, to listen to what he has to say, and consider it carefully.”

Marong gave evidence after taking an Islamic oath. He said he spoke two other languages but he was comfortable giving evidence in English.

He told the court he had been born and raised in Gambia on Africa’s west coast, where he was a member of the Mandinka tribe. He learned science at high school and economics at university.

He left Gambia on August 28, 2012, which was the last time he had seen his wife and three children.

He arrived in Christchurch in 2014, where he got a job as a halal slaughterman.

He said he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, which was triggered by elevation of his stress hormones.

From January 2016, he noticed changes in his blood-sugar levels. The levels were elevated despite using medication. He contacted a doctor but they could not do anything, he said.

“It was just too much for me,” Marong said. He stopped taking medication and suffered from sleeping and eating disorders, and agitation which showed symptoms of impulsivity. He also noticed a change in his attitude towards sexual activity. He said he became “hypersexual”, which caused restlessness and frequent visits to the red light district.

Sometimes just visiting the area was enough, and sometimes he hired prostitutes for sex. That cost a lot of money. He said he was “living in a delusional frame of mind”, with paranoia and fear of persecution.

He would browse the Internet “round the clock, day and night”, he said after being asked about the police’s account of his Internet searches. He said his browsing history was “just not normal”.

Mr Krebs asked him about searches for “what chemical do kidnappers use?” and chemicals to put on a rag to make people unconscious. He then looked for where chloroform could be bought in Christchurch.

“I was deluded. I was living in a whole new world,” he said.

He said he had no intention of buying chloroform. Asked about the searches about kidnapping a girl, he said: “During the Internet browsing history, that is how I was feeling.”

He acknowledged watching a pornographic video about necrophilia.

He said he picked up Miss Duckmanton and arranged to have sex in his car, in an isolated spot in the city, for $100. When he wanted to take her to his home instead, she said the charge was $300. He got the money from an ATM.

Miss Duckmanton asked him to stop and have sex in the car near Templeton. They had sex in the back seat. He said there was an argument. Miss Duckmanton wanted to go back to Manchester Street. The $300 had been given to her before they stopped.

He insisted on driving on, and Miss Duckmanton began yelling at him, at a time when he said he had been “aggressively agitated.”

“She started yelling at me. The only method I had to stop it was to compress her neck.”

Questioned by Mr Krebs about what he was thinking at that point, Marong replied: “I didn’t know what I was doing.”

Her body remained in the back of the car.

Miss Duckmanton’s family and friends were in tears at the back of the court while Marong gave his account.

In later evidence, Marong produced details of medical tests about that time, when he said he felt unwell, physically and mentally. He said the effects of organ failure were “similar to intoxicating yourself with substance abuse, but mine was natural”.

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