Victim's neighbour charged with murder

The man accused of killing a 55-year-old South Auckland resident lived a matter of metres from him.

Kaveinga Helotu Lavemai, 27, has been charged with murdering Richard John Lees as well as stealing a stereo and games console, worth $1000, belonging to someone else.

He made a brief appearance at Manukau District Court yesterday where he was remanded in custody until next month.

More than a dozen friends and family sat in the public gallery and shouted support as he was led back to the cells.

The charge sheet showed Lavemai was living at 1/219 Great South Rd, with only a wooden fence dividing him from Lees' sleep out.

On Monday police cordoned off Lavemai's residence and other neighbours said they had no idea what had happened.

An autopsy revealed Lees died of head injuries.

Police said detectives were continuing to search properties of interest and were still determining whether other people were involved in either helping the accused or dealing with the stolen property.

Lees was living a normal, routine and quiet life before his death, police have said.

His body was discovered by his flatmate at the Great South Rd address about 10am on Friday.

Police asked anyone who has information to call Counties Manukau Police on 09 261 1300 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Auckland Now