8 Sep 2009

Second body removed from Christchurch house

11:51 am on 8 September 2009

Police have removed the second of two women's bodies found under the floorboards of a house in Christchurch.

The remains of the women were discovered on Thursday at the property in the eastern suburb of Wainoni. One body was removed on Saturday and a post-mortem is being carried out.

About 70 people gathered outside the house on Monday night to wait for the body, believed to be that of Tisha Lowry, to be removed.

Ms Lowry, 28, was living next door when she disappeared in September last year.

A haka was performed as the body was brought out of the house. Family and friends of Ms Lowry carried bunches of flowers, and many cried and hugged as they waited.

Police expect to formally identify both bodies by Wednesday.

A 33-year-old contractor, whose name has been suppressed, appeared in the Christchurch District Court on Friday charged with his wife's murder. Police have said it is likely he will face further charges next week.

A team of 26 police officers is working on the inquiry, as well as specialist police staff and forensic scientists.

Detective Inspector Fitzgerald said on Saturday the examination of the scene was painstaking and methodical, with the floorboards taken up and the soil sifted grain by grain. Almost every item in the ground floor of the house was also being scrutinised by forensic investigators.

Two large police tents stand on the property at the corner of Wainoni Rd and Hampshire St. Flowers and poems from neighbours decorate a fence beside the house.

Mr Fitzgerald says the scene is disturbing for nearby residents, and he understands why the immediate neighbours have opted to move their four children out of the house for the time being.

Police have been making door-to-door inquiries, and are asking anyone who heard a disturbance in the area last Sunday morning to come forward.

The case developed after a 35-year-old woman was reported missing. Investigations at the house in Wainoni began on 3 September and the bodies were discovered that night.

The accused was questioned at the time of Ms Lowry's disappearance but no connection was established by police.