9 Jun 2011

Council offers to buy 'murder' property

1:10 pm on 9 June 2011

Christchurch City Council has offered to buy part of the property where the bodies of two women were found beneath the floorboards of a house nearly two years ago.

Jason Somerville owned half the semi-detached property until he was jailed for murder.

The bodies of Tisha Lowry, who had been missing for a year, and Somerville's wife, Rebecca Somerville, were found under the house in 2009.

The property has been attacked by arsonists several times.

Mayor Bob Parker suggested the council buy the property and turn it into a memorial garden or a community facility, but there was opposition from some councillors and the proposal stalled.

Burwood Pegasus Community Board deputy chair Tim Baker says $50,000 has been offered to buy the house adjoining the scene of the murders and the council is negotiating with owner Jason Drain.

Mr Baker expects the council to make a similar offer for the other half of the property, which was owned by Somerville.