Manurewa homicide: Workers scared for safety after womans body found nearby

Staff at a Warehouse distribution centre in Auckland have felt unsafe leaving work after dark this week after a woman’s body was found nearby.

Police launched a homicide investigation after the body was found just off McVilly St in Manurewa on Saturday September 11 around 4.30pm.

Police say the woman was in her late teens or early 20s and she has been identified, and her next of kin notified. Her identity has not yet been released by the police.

Today there was no trace of police – or that there was an ongoing investigation – on McVilly Rd. It was mostly deserted and quiet, with no indication that an alleged crime had taken place just four days earlier.

The dead-end, narrow road is surrounded by an industrial area that borders neighbouring suburb Wiri.

The Homai train station sits halfway down, opposite the Blind and Low Vision Education Network and near the Manurewa table tennis club.

Across the train tracks sits a mosque, Masjid Baitul Muqeet, and at the end of the road a grassy area backs onto the Warehouse Northern Distribution Centre in Wiri.

This area is signposted as private property owned by the Warehouse, and where some staff were seen by the Herald entering the premises.

A worker told the Herald he has been keeping watch of the area since the woman’s body was found, and earlier today he shooed off two men who were drinking there, because some staff were feeling unsafe.

He said he walked a fellow worker to the Homai train station after they finished a shift around 7.30pm last night because they felt unsettled.

The Warehouse Group has been approached for comment regarding the safety concerns.

Across from McVilly St, on the corner of Browns Rd and Russell Rd, a convenience store and laundromat sits within a line of shops.

The owner of Palm Super Mart told the Herald police had visited the store yesterday asking for any CCTV footage, but he had no cameras positioned on the outside of the building.

He said there is normally a security guard at the train station, but they finish working when the last train is scheduled shortly after midnight.

Next door at a laundromat, a staff worker said they noticed two or three cars driving down McVilly Rd yesterday with people dressed in black. The laundromat was also visited by police in recent days.

On the opposite corner of Russell Rd another dairy owner said police had also requested CCTV footage from them, but his outside camera was not pointing in the direction of McVilly Rd.

He said it was “a little bit scary” to learn a homicide investigation had been launched. He told the Herald he had owned his store for six years and had no previous issues in the area.

A resident on Russell Rd told the Herald he was also surprised and saddened to learn of the woman’s death. He often walks to the Homai train station from his home, but said he is not concerned for his safety.

He has lived in Manurewa for more than 50 years and said he is “flabbergasted” at how crime has increased in the area.

Police said there was no update on the homicide investigation today, and inquiries were ongoing.

A scene examination on McVilly Rd and a post mortem examination were completed on Monday.

“The community can be reassured that police are working hard to piece together the facts surrounding her death and will hold any person responsible to account,” Detective Senior Sergeant Mike Hayward said on Monday.

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