Even darker motive behind sex worker’s murder

An inference could be drawn that Sainey Marong’s murderous plans were related to his unhealthy desire for necrophilia, the Crown said as the 33-year-old faced his sentencing in the High Court.

The jury rejected Marong’s claim of mental illness at his trial in February and found him guilty of the murder of 22-year-old sex worker Renee Duckmanton after less than an hour of deliberations.

Justice Cameron Mander today described the murder as “particularly callous and cruel” before he jailed Marong for life with a minimum non-parole term of 18 years.

Family of the victim shouted abuse at Marong as he was led away, and one man tried to rush the dock but was stopped.

Marong told the trial that he had strangled Miss Duckmanton in his car after they had sex, when there was a dispute about where to go next.

Her burning body was found on a roadside near Rakaia the next day.

Crown prosecutor Pip Currie pointed to the Ilam butcher’s planning and his internet searches about murder, kidnapping, and necrophilia before his murder of the 22-year-old sex worker, Renee Duckmanton, on May 14, 2016.

She told Justice Cameron Mander that Marong had conducted detailed and determined searches about how to kill someone, and about his “unhealthy and unpleasant” interest in necrophilia.

Mrs Currie said: “The intention to kill was directly related to this unhealthy desire for necrophilia. There are no charges but it is clear that sexual activity took place.”

“It would appear the inference to be drawn is that the defendant killed Renee to carry out a sexual fantasy or desire. It is a clear inference from the fixation on necrophilia that this is what he was interested in,” she said.

Justice Mander said: “There is a lingering question of whether sexual intercourse took place before or after the murder. The Crown acknowledges that because it cannot prove that aspect, it must be put to one side.”

He said it had been a callous and cruel murder. His premeditation involved deliberate strangulation to leave the victim’s body intact for his “depraved motivation to kill”.

His depraved aim was to kill a sex worker to fulfil some sexual ambition, said the judge.

Miss Duckmanton’s family members demanded that Sainey Marong look at them during his sentencing and told him: “We will be forever haunted by the way she died.”

Miss Duckmanton’s mother, Tracy Duckmanton, read a victim impact statement and told him she hoped he would “rot in hell”. She described Renee as “beautiful, goofy, bubbly, loving, sweet, trusting, and naïve.” She had suffered cerebral palsy at birth which made her vulnerable physically and emotionally as she grew up.

Her death had “devastated my life and my family’s life”, she said. “Nothing will ever be the same.”

Renee’s grandmother, Patricia Duckmanton, said her granddaughter had been “precious to so many people”. Despite the pain, they had fond memories of her. To her nieces and nephews “she was their funny, young, goofy auntie”.

Family members remarked that Marong showed no remorse and demanded that he look at them as they read victim impact statements.

Renee’s father, Brent McGrath, acknowledged the dedication of the police in getting justice for his daughter, and he recognised the jury’s work during the difficult court process. The family was left with “wonderful memories” of Renee, but he told Marong they were now “leaving you behind”.

Defence counsel Jonathan Krebs repeated the defence at the trial that Marong’s actions needed to be seen through the lens of mental illness. “He accepted he caused the death, but he did so at a time when he was insane. The jury plainly rejected that.”

He pointed to evidence that Marong had not been taking his insulin for his diabetes for three or four weeks, and a doctor’s evidence was that hypoglycaemia could have an effect on the mind. Marong’s internet searches had been becoming more and more bizarre over that time.

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