Christchurch carer Val Heaney killed inside own home: Neighbours heard yelling day before body found

Neighbours heard yelling and “high-pitched voices” at a Christchurch boarding house the day before the landlord, isolating with Covid-19, was found dead.

The body of Val Heaney was discovered inside her Walcot St home in the eastern suburb of Bromley on Monday evening.

Last night, Detective Senior Sergeant Nicola Reeves confirmed that Heaney’s death is now a homicide probe.

The killing has left locals on edge and in fear while police ramp up an intense investigation.

“This is CSI stuff here,” one local said.

“What you see on TV has all been happening here.”

Today, a large police cordon surrounds the pink brick property, with a blue police tent erected on the footpath and a mobile police base parked outside.

Investigators have been seen focusing on a screen door at the side of the house.

Reeves confirmed that a scene examination is ongoing while the post-mortem has been completed.

Heaney, in her 60s, has lived at Walcot St for decades and started running her family home as a boarding house after her husband died around 13 years ago.

The experienced carer preferred to get “mature age group” boarders, according to previous advertisements and it’s understood three or four people could be living there at a time.

Her daughter Natasha, who had Down Syndrome, died last year.

Heaney had worked as a carer for people with intellectual disabilities and as a community support worker at Brackenridge, a Christchurch charity helping people with learning disabilities and autism.

One neighbour spoken to by the Herald said there had been yelling and “high-pitched voices” on Sunday afternoon.

But it wasn’t an unusual occurrence, he said, and “not enough to put us on edge”.

He believed many people would’ve been indoors at the time watching the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup final between Australia and England which was being played across town at Hagley Oval.

Police arrived at the house on Monday night and found Heaney’s body.

Since then, the house has been the scene of intense police scrutiny.

“It’s a shock and a surprise to us. We’re just dumbfounded by it all,” a neighbour said.

“It’s mindboggling to be next door to this sort of situation.”

The killing has left locals on edge.

“It’s one of those quiet little streets,” one neighbour said.

“My biggest concern is whether we’re in any danger.”

He had raised his concerns with police who tried to allay his concerns.

The large police presence at Walcot St is expected to be there for at least another day as detectives piece together what has happened.

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