Witness describes discovering murdered woman

Sainey Marong is accused of murdering Christchurch sex worker Renee Larissa DuckmantonHer body was found at a scrub fire near Rakaia - Photo: The Press / Fairfax

Friends and family of murder victim Renee Duckmanton walked out of court today in tears, as the man who discovered her body described what he saw.

Sainey Marong - a 33-year-old Christchurch butcher - is charged with murdering the 22-year-old on 14 May 2016.

Day two of Mr Marong's trial at the High Court in Christchurch today included testimony from the members of the public who discovered Ms Duckmanton's burnt body lying naked at the side of Main Rakaia Road.

Yesterday, both the Crown and the defence made their opening statements to the 12-person jury.

The Crown alleged Mr Marong strangled the victim to death and then dumped her, doused her with petrol and set her alight the following day.

Rakaia resident Maxwell Ferris told the court he was travelling home that evening with his wife and daughter, after a family event in Christchurch.

Travelling south on Main Rakaia Road, he saw a grass fire and pulled over.

"Walking over to the fire, I needed some light on it so I turned on the app on my phone to get the torch light... That revealed what at that stage I thought was a mannequin," he said.

"You don't think you're going to come across a body," Mr Ferris said, fighting back tears.

"[She was] ... lying on her side, her leg was in the air."

As Mr Ferris described the scene, some of Ms Duckmanton's friends and family walked out of the courtroom in tears.

Earlier today the jury was shown a photo of what Mr Ferris saw.

It was kept off the screens visible to the victim's friends and family in the public gallery.

When a fire truck arrived at the scene, chief fire officer Stuart Jones placed a fireman's jacket over Ms Duckmanton's body as there were members of the public nearby.

He described what he saw to the court.

"On the body itself I could see what appeared to the remains of some ... underwear that could be seen around the waistline," he said.

"The rest [of her clothing] was clearly destroyed by fire."

A tarpaulin was placed over the body when another fire appliance arrived.

Covert search of Mr Marong's home

The court also heard today that the police carried out a covert search of Mr Marong's home, about a week after Ms Duckmanton's death.

Police detective Maania Piahana told the court she and another detective carried out the search of Mr Marong's Barlow Street home during an open house on 22 May 2016.

The house was for sale at the time.

Ms Piahana said the purpose of the covert search was to gather samples of Mr Marong's DNA.

"I was carrying an empty black handbag that contained disposable gloves and evidence bags," she said.

Ms Piahana said she took a black comb and a baseball cap from Mr Marong's bedroom and placed these in evidence upon her return to the Christchurch Police station.

Today the court also saw CCTV of Ms Duckmanton walking besides St Lukes, on Manchester Street.

This was the last time Ms Duckmanton was seen by a CCTV camera.

She was dropped off in the area on 14 May by Christchurch man Terrence McGowan, who gave testimony today.

Mr McGowan told the court he first met Ms Duckmanton after he spoke to her on a whim when coming home from the movies.

He said he was aware of Ms Duckmanton's work as a prostitute and would often drop her off in the Peterborough-Manchester Street area and wait for her while she worked.

Mr McGowan said Ms Duckmanton was an "amazing person".

The trial continues.

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