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Murder trial key witness never saw bodies

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 6/05/2016

A man who says he showed murder-accused Kamal Reddy where to bury two bodies has told a court he never actually saw the dead victims.

Reddy, 42, is standing trial accused of murdering Mubarak Yusuf and her three-year-old child, Juwairiyah "Jojo" Kalim, in late 2006.

The Crown says Reddy unwittingly told undercover police officers in October 2014 he had strangled 24-year-old Ms Yusuf - also known as Pakeeza Faizal - and smothered the girl before taking police to their bodies under the Takapuna Landing Bridge.

On Thursday, 66-year-old Bal Naidu, earlier described as an "uncle" to Reddy, told the court the accused had come to his house late one night saying he had killed them, had their bodies in the back of his car and needed help.

Naidu, a construction worker, said he took Reddy to the site where the bodies were eventually found.

But defence lawyer Gary Gotlieb questioned whether Naidu had been able to actually see any bodies in Mr Reddy's car, saying it had tinted windows and Reddy often carried tools in the back.

"Everything was covered in a blanket and I couldn't see," Naidu said through an interpreter. "I didn't see anything beneath that, but he told me there was a body beneath that."

Mr Gotlieb then suggested Reddy had never said he had killed the pair, but found them dead, but Naidu denied this.

Naidu was last year sentenced to a year home detention after pleading guilty to being an accessory after the fact to murder.

He was asked if he had received a favourable sentence for the admission, but replied he had told the truth.

Naidu told the court he initially told police he had not met Reddy until about 2009, three years after the alleged killings in order to avoid incriminating himself.

The defence says a taped confession by Reddy to police was false and he was pressured into lying during repeated questioning by undercover officers he thought he could trust.

Although the details of the police sting can't be published, it can be reported that Reddy joined officers in a series of "simulated criminal scenarios" over a period of six months in 2014 that ended in the alleged admission.

The trial continues.

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