2 Mar 2015

Man burnt alive for money - Crown

6:31 pm on 2 March 2015

Crown lawyers say a man accused of killing Shalvin Prasad by setting him on fire tried to book an immediate flight to South Africa the day after the body was found.

Shivneel Kumar (left) and Bryne Permal (far right) in Auckland High Court.

Shivneel Kumar (left) and Bryne Permal (far right) in Auckland High Court. Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

Two men are accused of the murder of Mr Prasad, whose body was found in January 2013.

Shivneel Kumar and Bryne Permal, both in their early 20s, have pleaded not guilty at the High Court in Auckland today.

The jury has heard that Mr Prasad's body was found by a dog walker, in an area of smouldering scrub in the south Auckland suburb of Kingseat.

Crown lawyer Aaron Perkins said more than $30,000 was withdrawn from Mr Prasad's bank account on the day he was thought to have died.

He said Mr Kumar was seen waiting for Mr Prasad outside the bank when the cash was withdrawn.

"Within a very short space of time, hours, Mr Kumar in particular commences a spending spree with the money he has secured from Mr Prasad.

"A young man has died, because Mr Kumar in particular wanted his money at any cost."

Mr Perkins said Mr Kumar made it clear he wanted to go South Africa that night, telling a travel agent it was urgent as he had a partner in hospital there.

"But there wasn't a flight that night. But there wasn't a flight that night, but there was one the next morning.

"So he indicates quite a bit of interest in that flight. She tells him it's going to be expensive though, because it's short notice, $3578.

"He tells her 'I've got cash, money is no object'."

The trial is expected to last for up to four weeks.