Christchurch suburb’s history of violence

  • 13/07/2010

By Dave Williams

The shooting of two police officers this morning is the latest spate of violence to hit a working class Christchurch suburb, which has seen three people killed and a number of armed robberies in just over a year.

A 34-year-old man is in police custody today after the shooting in which a six-year-old police dog was also killed.

A 51-year-old senior constable was shot in the face and a 39-year-old constable shot in the upper thigh at a Buccleugh St house in suburban Phillipstown.

Buccleugh St intersects Olliviers Rd, which last year saw three people killed violently within four months.

In May Tala Seleni, 55, and Melissa Nina Adcock, 32, were found dead in Olliviers Rd and police launched a homicide investigation but did not seek anyone else.

In August Andre James Delamare, 41, was found stabbed in Olliviers Rd. Baz Michael Edmonds, a 39-year-old English-born man, was charged with his murder.

Since the end of May this year there have been a number of armed robberies in Phillipstown and surrounding suburbs.

The St Martins Pharmacy was robbed of drugs at knife-point, the Glenbyre Tavern was robbed at gunpoint and patrons narrowly avoided being shot, and the Phillipstown Post Shop was robbed by a man demanding money.

Both the Opawa Universal Dairy and the Cashel Convenience Centre Dairy, on the corner of Cashel Street and Olliviers Rd, have also been robbed at gunpoint.

Inspector John Price, policing development manager, said there was no denying there had been a number of high-profile violent crimes in the immediate area, but would not say Phillipstown was worse than any other area for crime.

The three deaths and the latest shootings did not reflect the character of the suburb, where there were a number of good people living, he said.

Phillipstown and Linwood were lower socio-economic areas, which was a factor but not the only one that contributed to crime in the area, he said.

Mr Price said police had not looked at Phillipstown as a more violent area. Police crime statistics are not broken down by suburb.

There was always a lot of hype and interest in violent crime but the reality was that most violence that led to homicide was domestic violence, which could happen anywhere, he said.

The number of armed incidents was a concern. If people in the suburbs had more access to firearms police would be looking into that, but it was difficult for police to know which people were gaining access to illegal firearms, he said.

It was too early to say if the man arrested in today's incident was a registered firearms owner or owned weapons.

"In this instance we have gone to the address and it was a normal address check and nothing to indicate a firearm would be there."

Christchurch itself has been the home of a number of high-profile murders in the past couple of years. In 2008 the battered body of prostitute Mellory Manning, 27, was found in the Avon River. Her killer has not yet been found.

And earlier this year Jason Somerville was jailed for at least 23 years for murdering his wife, Rebecca Chamberlain, 35, and neighbour Tisha Lowry, 28.

He had sex with both of them after they were dead and buried them under his Christchurch home in the suburb of Wainoni.

The house, dubbed the "house of horrors", was demolished after being the subject of repeated arson attacks.

NZPA

source: newshub archive