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Historic villa linked to grisly murder probe up for sale

Author
Kurt Bayer, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Tue, 20 Jun 2023, 11:35am
The historic Southbrook villa which has been searched in relation to the Richard Leman homicide inquiry is up for sale. Photo / Kurt Bayer
The historic Southbrook villa which has been searched in relation to the Richard Leman homicide inquiry is up for sale. Photo / Kurt Bayer

Historic villa linked to grisly murder probe up for sale

Author
Kurt Bayer, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Tue, 20 Jun 2023, 11:35am

A historic villa linked to a grisly homicide investigation is up for sale.

The four-bedroom property on the corner of Southbrook Main Rd and South Belt in Rangiora, North Canterbury has been raided by police twice in connection with the alleged murder of Richard Leman, whose body was found dismembered in the boot of his car more than two months ago.

Police launched a homicide probe when Leman’s body was located inside his own car, parked in a garage in Tyler St, Rangiora, on April 17.

A 46-year-old man was arrested in Rangiora on June 3 and charged with murder while a 38-year-old woman had been charged with accessory to murder after the fact.

Officers scoured the Southbrook villa, built in 1925, on two occasions while hunting Leman’s killer.

The house, on the busy main road into Rangiora, 25km north of Christchurch, was also allegedly firebombed by a Molotov cocktail in September.

Another suspicious fire was started at the dilapidated fire-scarred property during the large-scale police inquiry.

Now, the house which has become infamous in the town, is being sold by Harcourts at auction on July 12.

“Demo & Develop - Selling ‘As is’,” a property listing states.

“Circumstances dictate this property has to be sold on or before auction day. Likely to appeal to both builders and developers, or those looking for an opportunity to capitalise on what is on offer here.”

Police have searched the property twice. Photo / Kurt Bayer

Police have searched the property twice. Photo / Kurt Bayer

The “prime corner location” last sold in 1998 for $130,000 and now has a rateable value of $420,000.

“Due to fire damage to the property, viewing is to be from the street frontage only (no access onsite allowed),” the property listing says.

The Herald earlier revealed that Leman’s body was dismembered and that when police found him, his torso was in the boot of his car with several parts of his body missing. It is believed he was shot.

Richard Leman. Photo / Supplied

Richard Leman. Photo / Supplied

Detective Senior Sergeant Tania Jellyman earlier said police were able to confirm, with the blessing of Leman’s family, that some of his remains have not been recovered.

“We are releasing these details in the hope that we can provide some closure for Richard’s family,” she said.

“We are not in a position to provide any further information in relation to this, however, this is understandably very distressing for Richard’s family.

“We would like to be able to recover the missing remains so his family can move forward from this tragedy.”

While one person had been charged with murder, police believed others were involved in his death.

Leman’s sister, Nicky Leman, told the Herald after the man’s arrest that the last seven weeks since her brother first went missing had been “total fear.

“I haven’t been sleeping, I’ve been getting up throughout the night checking my windows and doors and making sure all my children are in bed safe, it’s like I have not been sleeping,” she said.

“We’re all like that, we’re all a mess, all of us.

“We had no idea what was going on because the police don’t tell you anything because they’ve got an investigation to do and then you don’t want to know because you don’t want to jeopardise anything, so it’s been a catch-22 situation, we want to know but then we don’t because we don’t want to compromise anything. If we talk to the wrong person we don’t want anything compromised because we want justice for Richard.”

Kurt Bayer is a South Island correspondent based in Christchurch. He is a senior journalist who joined the Herald in 2011.

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