Christchurch’s “House of Horrors”

For those outside New Zealand who aren’t aware, two bodies were found beneath the floor of a house two weeks ago in Christchurch, South Island.  They were the bodies of a woman who had been missing for a year and the body of the wife of the man who lived in the house – this man has been charged with murder.  Analogies have been drawn with the West house in Gloucester, England, under which many bodies were discovered in the early 1990s.  The Gloucester House of Horrors was demolished several years after Fred & Rosemary had been convicted and a year after Fred had hung himself in his prison cell.  Every brick and timber was crushed to prevent people collecting souvenirs.  The Christchurch house was the focus of an arson attack yesterday, apparently leaving the property severely damaged.

My only hope is that all evidence required from the Christchurch house had been collected before the fire.  Remember that the Bain house at 65 Every Street, Dunedin, NZ, was burnt to the ground with the permission of the Police only two weeks after the murders in 1994 and significant forensic evidence was destroyed with it.

Horror House fire ‘turning point’ says mayor

21 September 2009, NZ Herald online

Flames engulf the Christchurch house where two bodies were found earlier this month. Photo / Supplied

A fire that gutted the Christchurch “House of Horrors” is a “turning point” for the community, Mayor Bob Parker says.  The bodies of Tisha Lowry, 28, and Rebecca Sarah Somerville, 35, were found underneath the semi-detached house in suburban Wainoni earlier this month.  Mrs Somerville’s husband, Jason Somerville, 33, who lived with his wife at the property, has been charged with murdering both women.  Ms Lowry lived a couple of doors along from the property when she went missing a year ago.

The blaze, which gutted the property late Saturday, was being treated as suspicious.

Mr Parker said a “memorial to murder most foul has been erased”.  “I think, if we’re honest, right across the community there was a sense it would happen,” he told The Press.  He was working with the Aranui Community Trust to decide what to do with the property.

Detective Sergeant Craig Farrant said the house had “been extensively damaged throughout”.  “Obviously, it’s of a suspicious nature it’s arson, let’s not beat around the bush.”  Mr Farrant said he could not condone such “Robin Hood-type” behaviour.  Neighbour Jason Hall, who owns the adjoining property, was angry the house was not destroyed under controlled conditions.  “It should have been knocked down a week ago. With a fire of that size, anything could happen. It could well have hurt other people.”


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