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Sex work may have had role in Rakaia death

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 18/05/2016
Renee Duckmanton © Facebook/Renee Duckmanton Renee Duckmanton

The sex work of a young woman whose burnt body was found in rural Canterbury may have played a role in her death after she was last seen in Christchurch's red light district.

The last-known movements of Renee Duckmanton have been tracked by police to Peterborough and Manchester Streets in central Christchurch where it is believed she was working on Saturday night.

Anyone in the area who saw her are urged to come forward and speak to police.

The family of Ms Duckmanton released emotional tributes on Wednesday, hours after homicide detectives revealed the body found at the weekend by the Rakaia River had been identified as the 22-year-old.

With her family and her friends, Renee was a kind, sweet and trusting person, her mother Tracy said in a statement.

"Renee will always be my beautiful baby girl."

Tracy, who asked that her surname not be published, described her daughter as bubbly, goofy and loved, adding that to those close to her she was kind, sweet and trusting.

Police have spoken with prostitutes in the area where Ms Duckmanton was last seen and are working with Anna Reed from the Prostitutes Collective in Christchurch to learn more about her movements.

But Ms Reed stressed the young woman shouldn't be remembered just for her line of work.

"She was a lovely young woman that had her whole life ahead and the sex work was just a tiny part of that," she told NZ Newswire.

Ms Reed said she was particularly disturbed as Ms Duckmanton was the fourth sex worker killed in the city in recent years.

"We're always concerned for their safety and we remind people to be really vigilant and look after each other and get to know each other (and) take down number plates of cars that people get into," she said.

She planned to meet with sex workers in Christchurch on Wednesday night to offer her support.

Extra police were also patrolling the city's red light district.

Detective Inspector Darryl Sweeney also stressed that it was important to remember Ms Duckmanton was "a vibrant young lady who was a daughter, a sister and a valued member of her family and much-loved".

Detectives were on Wednesday trying to piece together the young woman's movements after two homes, including Ms Duckmanton's, were searched.

Forensic experts had earlier this week searched farmland near the spot where the woman's body was found near Rakaia River, southwest of Christchurch, on Sunday.

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