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2 Fijian Men Accused Of South Auckland Burning Death Went On ‘Spending Spree’

2 Fijian Men Accused Of South Auckland Burning Death Went On ‘Spending Spree’
The two accused and a security guard (centre) sit in the dock at Auckland High Court. Photo / pool
March 03
10:19 2015

Two men accused of burning their friend to death on a rural South Auckland road went on a “spending spree” with his life savings only days after the incident, the Crown says.

Bryne Permal, 22, and Shivneel Kumar, 20, are charged with the murder of Shalvin Prasad after his charred body was found on January 31, 2013.

Crown prosecutor Aaron Perkins said Kumar was “the instigator and driving force” behind the alleged crime.

“He considered a sum of money was worth more than Mr Prasad’s life,” he said.

It is alleged Kumar spent thousands of dollars on his car and paying off various debts almost immediately after the alleged killing and on February 2 he and Permal went shopping together.

Mr Perkins said shop records showed they got tattoos, watches and Tee-shirts totalling nearly $2000.

All of it was paid for in cash.

Alarm bells initially rang with Mr Prasad’s family when his father checked his son’s bank account and found $30,050 missing on January 30.

The 21-year-old’s smouldering body was found early the next day by a woman walking her dog on McRobbie Rd in Kingseat.

Police were able to identify the victim only after analysing fingerprints and pathologists were almost certain the man had been alive when doused in petrol and set alight.

Mr Perkins said medical professionals would give evidence of finding the accelerant in Mr Prasad’s bloodstream and lungs, which led them to that conclusion.

On the day of his death, it is alleged the victim withdrew his entire savings, for which the Crown says he was ultimately killed.

CCTV footage would show that Kumar met Mr Prasad on the afternoon of January 30 and he was outside the Manukau bank when the victim withdrew the large sum.

Mr Prasad played football that evening and just after 8pm left the house, telling his father he would be home in two hours.

“It was a terrible terrible mistake on Mr Prasad’s part to not tell his father about what was going on,” Mr Perkins said.

Instead of going to play pool as he had said, the victim met the two defendants at Permal’s workplace in Wiri.

At 10.30pm CCTV showed Kumar pulling up at a Papakura petrol station, where his co-accused bought 15 litres of petrol.

“The Crown are unable to tell you what was in the boot of that car,” Mr Perkins said.

He indicated “potentially very powerful evidence” would come from conversations between Permal and Kumar recorded by police, who bugged the latter’s lime green Holden.

Mr Perkins said the jury would be played a recording in which the men discussed the importance of using their phones carefully and how they should act if questioned by police.

“The only way we’ll be saved is if our stories match up,” it is alleged they said.

The victim’s father is expected to tell the court his son was “naïve and immature” and spent most of his time at his work at a supermarket or at home with the family.

Mr Perkins told the jury Mr Prasad had previously loaned Mr Kumar more than $8000, which resulted in his family taking legal action to try to recover the money.

The trial before Justice Geoffrey Venning and a jury of six women and six men is expected to last four weeks.


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