Shiu Prasad says he planned to commit suicide in front the wife who had left him, but the situation “escalated” when he saw her with her new boyfriend.
The 52-year-old’s various explanations of his intentions in the violent outburst that left his wife stabbed to death and her new boyfriend badly wounded were described at his sentencing in the High Court at Christchurch.
Before imposing a jail term of life with a non-parole term of 13 years, Justice Gerald Nation, told him: “Your actions were criminal, selfish, and intensely destructive in the most serious of ways.”
The judge said: “I understand how upsetting it was obviously for you, finding out that your marriage had broken down, but you are not here because you were upset at the end of your marriage. You are here, and other people have suffered, because of the way you chose to deal with that upset and the actions you took.”
The Crown called for a long non-parole term, because the murder had been committed with “a high degree of brutality and callousness”.
Justice Nation reassured those at the scene that they had done all they could.
He told Prasad: “In contrast (to your actions) stand the acts of those people who saw what was happening on the street and in the heat of the moment did not pass by, but stopped, went to help your wife, and did their best to intervene in a situation that must have been frightening for them.”
In November, Prasad admitted the murder of 28-year-old rest home worker Keshni Naicker and also admitted wounding Miss Naicker’s new partner, Asveen Sharan, with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.
The brutal attack – a surprise stab in the back and then multiple wounds from a large kitchen knife – was committed as Miss Naicker left a rest home in Ilam Road where she had just finished working a shift.
The attack happened on September 15, a week after the couple had an argument and Miss Naicker moved out of their home in Christchurch. She told Prasad next day that she no longer wanted to be in a relationship with him. They had been married for less than five years.
Sharan, a 31-year-old meat process worker, said the couple had been together for just one week before “that awful night”. He said she was “the love of my life”.
In his victim impact statement read to the court, he said: “I would feel very complete in my life, I had everything.” The wounds had healed the the scars would be a reminder.
Miss Naicker’s mother, who still lived in Fiji, said she and her only daughter had been very close and her whole family was very shocked. She said her daughter had a right to be happy. She was worried about what would happen when Prasad was eventually released.
Another family member said Miss Naicker’s mother had cried almost every day since the murder.
A 29-year-old student told of the injured Naicker trying to get away by getting into her car as she drove by, but the door was locked and she could not unlock it fast enough. Miss Naicker was screaming “Help me” and ended up on her back 80m away where she was stabbed to death.
The student told the court: “I don’t sleep. I struggle to sleep.”
Crown prosecutor Mark Zarifeh said the killing was motivated by obsession and possessiveness. Prasad had been saying the preceding days that he still loved her, and threatening suicide. He said in his police interview that he had decided, “If she is not mine, I don’t want her to be with anyone.”
Defence counsel Andrew McCormick said Prasad had been distraught and devastated by his wife’s decision to leave him. He said: “He’s a heartbroken and broken man. He understands the harm he has caused. He is reeling as a result of his own behaviour. He is a very ordinary man who has behaved in an extraordinarily bad way following his wife’s decision to leave him.”
Before the killing, he had bought weed killer intending to kill himself but decided against it after talking with the human resources manager at his workplace, Mr McCormick explained.
After the stabbing, Prasad had stabbed himself in the stomach four times, intending to die with her.
Miss Naicker died in the ambulance while being treated by St John paramedics.
Sharan was taken to hospital with five serious stab wounds which needed stitches, and grazes to his knees and knuckles.
Miss Naicker received six substantial stab wounds. Two struck critical organs, causing internal bleeding which caused her death. She also had wounds to her arm, lower abdomen, the side of her mouth, and hand.
Prasad said he was so angry his “mind was not right”. He said it was “hard to say” if he wanted Miss Naicker to die. He acknowledged making “the biggest mistake of my life”.
Justice Nation rejected Mr McCormick’s submission that Prasad had wanted to harm his wife but not kill her, and it was a “reckless murder”. He had lain in wait for the victim, with a weapon, and had chased her and continued the attack when she ran away.
He decided that the killing did not show the same degree of callousness and brutality as other cases cited. He noted that Prasad had stabbed himself and tried to die beside his wife at the scene of the attack.
He allowed a reduced sentence for Prasad’s early guilty plea and imposed a non-parole term of 13 years as part of the life term.