Please attribute to Detective Inspector Greg Murton, Canterbury Police
Canterbury Police are making a fresh appeal for information from the public in relation to the death of Mellory Manning in December 2008.
In particular we are seeking to identify ‘Male B’ whose DNA profile was obtained from a semen sample located during a post-mortem examination.
Mellory, commonly known as Mel but also known as Ngati Lynette Manning, went to work on Thursday evening 18 December 2008.
Mel was a street worker who worked on the corner of Manchester and Peterborough Streets in Christchurch.
Mel had been a street worker for many years.
She was a street-wise feisty young lady who knew all about the dangers of her business.
Mel had not been seen on the street for some time, but it was close to Christmas and she wanted to earn money to buy Christmas presents for her family.
That night, Mel was offered a ride into town and arrived at her corner at about 9.30pm.
Manchester Street is a busy road and with Christmas around the corner the inner city was busy with vehicle and pedestrian traffic.
There were many sightings of Mel standing on her corner looking for business.
She was wearing a distinctive pink skirt and a blue and white polka dot bikini top.
Between 9.30pm and 10.35pm Mel is known to have had two clients. These clients were identified and have been spoken to.
The last known sighting of Mel was at about 10.35-10.40pm at her corner.
Mel was in possession of her own cell phone and she sent a series of texts to one of her previous clients that night at about 10.43pm.
The cell site data on that text indicates that she was on the move, likely in a vehicle, and had left her corner.
At about 6.40am on Friday 19 December 2008 Mel’s body was found floating in the Avon River near Dallington Terrace.
Operation Dallington, the investigation into her death, was commenced.
This investigation has now been going for approximately 13 years and it has been a complex and challenging investigation.
It was clear that Mel was subjected to a prolonged and violent assault that caused her death.
It is also the belief of the investigation team that due to the nature of her injuries, a number of persons were involved in her death.
A post-mortem examination was undertaken, and a semen sample was located from which a DNA profile was obtained. This is referred to as the Male B sample.
The known clients who had been with Mel on the Thursday evening have been eliminated as being Male B.
The investigation team was extremely hopeful at the time that the Male B DNA sample would be matched to someone on the criminal DNA database. Unfortunately, that was not the case.
Considerable time and effort has been spent by the investigation team to obtain DNA samples from persons of interest over the last 13 years who were not on the criminal DNA database. Unfortunately, we have not been able to identify Male B.
Information is sought from members of the public who may have information as to the identity of Male B or have any other information as to who was involved in Mel’s death and what occurred that night.
Police urge these people to come forward to give the family some closure.
Anyone who has any information which may assist is asked to call Police on 105 and quote Operation Dallington.
Information can also be provided anonymously be ringing Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111.
Issued by Police Media Centre