'House of horrors' could become playground site
Wed, 19 Sep 2012 12:20p.m.
By 3 News online staff
The site of a Christchurch house where a sexually-motivated double murder took place may be turned into a playground.
The local community board has recommended that the land be purchased by the city council as part of the Neighbourhood Parks programme, the New Zealand Herald reports.
Jason Somerville strangled his wife and his neighbour to death before sexually violating their bodies at the Aranui house in August 2009.
He buried his wife Rebecca and Natasha Lowry underneath the floorboards of their unit on the corner of Hampshire St and Wainoni Rd. The building became known in media reports as ‘the house of horrors’.
Somerville eventually admitted the murders to police and was sentenced in 2010 to at least 23 years in prison.
The unit where the murders took place and another attached to it were the target of arson attacks and were demolished. The site now stands vacant and overgrown.
Tim Baker of the Burwood Pegasus Community Board says it could be redeveloped and turned into a children’s playground, but he accepts there may be opposition to the plans given the history of the site.
Ms Somerville’s family have previously opposed any memorial being built on the site, fearing it would immortalise what they termed Somerville’s “legacy of horror”.
The section where the two units stood is a cross lease – with Liberty Finance owning the part where the Somervilles’ unit once stood, and Gisborne man Jason Drain owning the second part.
Mr Drain’s previous attempts to sell the land have failed, including a TradeMe listing that advertised his part of the site for $55,000.
Mr Baker will not say how much the council might pay for the land, but the council will consider the recommended purchase at a meeting on October 11.
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19/09/2012 5:33:27 p.m.
@ERM.if u read the article it clearly says the word immortalise..
Ms Sommervilles family have previously opposed any memorial being built in the site,fearing it would immortalise what they termed Sommervilles "legacy of horror"
19/09/2012 4:24:45 p.m.
Remember the murders of 1992 where 7 lives were taken? 5 of them were children. The house was removed and a park was built in consultation with the community. The reason: to 'takahi te kainga' (bless the house). I think it appropriate that young life continue to 'stomp' where life was taken prematurely. May the souls of those who died there rest in peace and be forever blessed.
19/09/2012 4:15:07 p.m.
how does what happened there 3 years ago matter what this is made into if this becomes a playground it shouldn't matter. think about it logically was it the property that did it or some sicko.
19/09/2012 3:43:22 p.m.
i would rather not say wrote:
I live around the corner from said property - I was here when all this occureed as well - with police asking many many questions in the search for Tisha and i find it sad that it is just left... i agree that a memorial is not right - but a small park where kids could play would be great... a couple of park benches so that parents could watch and enjoy the sun would be great.. it is right by the bus stop so would entertain the kids while the parents wait for a bus.
But of course the council have to offer the gentleman in gisborne a decent amount.. he is truely the inocent victim being pushed to the side.
Lets see something nice come of what was a bad time for many..
Lets make new positive memories for our children
19/09/2012 2:57:23 p.m.
@Jo: Who said immortalise? Why should it just be a waste of space?
19/09/2012 2:11:32 p.m.
what a ludicris idea to make this property a park.. no wonder the other owner had trouble selling his property...why immortalise what this man did? it needs to be concreted and left.
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