4 Mar 2015

Prasad's body mistaken for tree-trunk

4:54 pm on 4 March 2015

A jury has been told that the woman who found the burnt body of a man in still-smouldering scrub in south Auckland initially thought the body was a tree-trunk.

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

Sandra Campbell found 21 year-old Shalvin Prasad's body in scrub in Kingseat while she was walking her dog, early on 31 January 2013.

She told the jury at Auckland High Court, she saw what looked like mist near some trees, and found an area of burnt ground with some smoking embers.

She said at first she thought it was a tree trunk, but then realised there had been no tree there, and that it was a body.

The Crown said Mr Prasad was burnt alive two years ago for his money.

The court heard that one of the men accused of murder asked a work colleague to look after an envelope containing cash, and gave him most of it at the end of the day.

Bryne Permal and Shivneel Kumar deny murdering Mr Prasad, whose burnt body was found a day after he had withdrawn more than $30,000 from his bank account.

Atina Sila, a work colleague of Mr Permal, told the jury that, in February 2013, Mr Permal asked him to look after an envelope, saying he was having problems with his account.

"He wanted me to put it somewhere safe so he could come back after the shift and take it."

The envelope contained about $300 and a bank card.

The colleague said they joked about him taking some of the money and at the end of the day, Mr Permal gave him $300 and did not want it repaid.

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