A Christchurch man has appeared in court charged with murdering a Cats Protection League worker, but says he will defend the charge.
Ashley Donald Peach, 41, was on Thursday charged with the murder of Kerry Downey, whose body was found on the Port Hills last week.
Mrs Downey, who was 52, was out on voluntary cat protection duties when she disappeared.
Mr Peach was visibly upset as he stood in the dock at the Christchurch District Court on Thursday afternoon.
He is already in custody, having been arrested for the theft of a cat cage Mrs Downey had with her when she went missing.
Through his lawyer he said he had no involvement in her death.
He will reappear in court next month.