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30 Jan 2024

'Deep shock': Dad in India mourns unexplained death of son at Dunedin home

8:48 am on 30 January 2024

By Rob Kidd and Mark John of Otago Daily Times

Police cordoned off Hillary Street in the Dunedin suburb of Liberton after a sudden death, on 29 January, 2024.

Police cordoned off Hillary Street in the Dunedin suburb of Liberton on 29 January after a sudden death. Photo: RNZ / Tess Brunton

The father of a Dunedin man found dead at his home was in deep shock when he heard his son had died.

Gurjit Singh's father, who is in India, hopes there will be a fair investigation by police into his son's death.

Police were called to Hillary St, in Pine Hill, yesterday morning where they found Mr Singh lying unresponsive amid shards of glass.

The circumstances of the incident are unclear.

Otago Punjabi Foundation Trust member Narindervir Singh, of Dunedin, said he had spoken to Singh's father yesterday after the unexpected death of the young man.

He was in "deep shock" trying to take in what had happened.

Singh, 28, was married about six months ago and his wife was due to arrive in New Zealand in early February, Narindervir Singh said.

He had been living with his friends and only recently moved into a new house in Pine Hill.

About two weeks ago he had found his garage door open and was suspicious of a break-in and had since bought CCTV cameras to install at the house.

"He came with some dreams to this city and he might have never dreamed his life would end like that," Narindervir Singh said.

Friends described Singh as "very humble" and without enemies.

Sunil Umat lived with Singh for three years said he was "just hard-working, a nice person to be around, very responsible".

"We can't figure it out. It's still a big shock to us," he said.

"He was just a pretty normal nice guy; no drinking, no smoking, that kind of person."

A Pine Hill resident said she saw Singh lying on the grass amid blood and broken glass while on her way to work yesterday.

"There were cops everywhere, and you could see the man lying on the lawn on his back."

The witness said she saw no efforts by emergency services to try to resuscitate Singh.

By 3pm the body was still on the lawn but covered by a tent, the witness said.

Umat could think of no reason anyone would want to hurt him.

"You can't have a problem with him. Even if someone did have a problem, he would ignore it," he said.

Singh had a small circle of friends in Dunedin and Umat said his family was from the Punjab, in India.

He was understood to be sub-contracting and according to Companies Office records, had last November established Done With Dirt Ltd, of which he was sole director and shareholder.

Police have released a statement urging members of the public to come forward if they could help or "saw any unusual activity" in the area.

The death remained unexplained and Senior Sergeant Anthony Bond said Pine Hill residents could expect an increased police presence in the area.

"There is not thought to be any ongoing safety risk to the public arising from the incident.

"More details will be provided when they are available."

This story was first published by Otago Daily Times.

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