22 Jul 2013

Pair found guilty of murdering farm worker

4:52 pm on 22 July 2013

Two men accused of murdering a Canterbury dairy farm worker in February this year have been found guilty.

The High Court trial of Thuvan Prawesh Sawal and Viraj Alahakoon in Christchurch has lasted five weeks.

Sawal and Alahakoon both denied murdering 28-year-old Sameera Battelage then burning his house down to disguise the crime.

During the trial, the jury of seven women and five men was told Mr Battelage was stabbed and cut six times in the neck before his body was doused in petrol and set alight on 23 February.

Crown prosecutor Brent Stanaway said the murder was prompted because Mr Battelage was having an affair with a woman connected with one of the men. The details of their relationship were suppressed.

Sawal and Alahakoon have been remanded in custody until 6 September for sentencing.

The jury of seven women and five men at the High Court in Christchurch began deliberating on Monday morning and returned with their verdict in the afternoon.