Brother speaks of victim's 'big heart'

MICHELLE ROBINSON
Last updated 14:35 04/02/2013
Shalvin Prasad
HOMICIDE: Shalvin Prasad.

Young man 'burnt alive'

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LATEST: The brother of a man burned to death in South Auckland last week has been described as having the ''biggest heart anyone could have'' at his funeral today. 

Shalvin Prasad, 21, was found still on fire on the side of McRobbie Rd in Kingseat on Thursday, and his Toyota RAV4 was found about 27km from the crime scene on Sunday.

At a funeral at the Manukau Memorial Gardens, the 21-year-old's brother, Pravin, said ''Shal'' was the most loving person he knew.

"He's got a very big heart, the biggest heart anyone could have. He was so respectful. No-one, no-one gave more respect than Shalvin."

He also spoke of Prasad's innocence and trusting nature, including a time when he got lost one night and was found sitting in his car with the windows down and lights on. 

Prasad's mother, supported by her husband, son and daughter, said she was proud to have such a son. 

A priest led the procession of mourners who bent to light candles and pray as they carried Prasad into the chapel shortly after midday.

The traditional service was conducted in Hindi, honouring Prasad's Fijian-Indian roots. The hundreds of mourners filled the chapel and spilled out the entrance.

A large portrait of Prasad was displayed on a screen throughout the ceremony and another was enshrined with flowers. 

Music played as a slideshow was shown of an immaculately dressed Prasad enjoying himself with family and friends.

They included a picture of him smiling and wearing an All Blacks jersey, posing with Ronald McDonald and as an infant bundled in white.

Members of Prasad's Manukau United Soccer Team described the sport as what motivated him to get out of bed in the morning, and of his punctuality and eagerness to play from a young age. 

He was described by team members as a "fine player" and "very good goal keeper", a shy and innocent young man who turned vocal in the field. 

Prasad's soccer coach at Botany Downs Secondary College, Dip Archary, remembered a "very quiet" but "well-liked" kid with a big smile.

He toured to Australia with the 1st XI football team in 2006 and left school after completing Year 12 the following year. 

HOMICIDE INVESTIGATION CONTINUES

Police are examining Prasad's vehicle and have appealed to any business owners in the Plunkett Ave area that have CCTV footage that could help their investigation.

Detective Inspector Dave Lynch of Counties Manukau police said earlier that Prasad's disappearance was out of character and there were no reasons why he would go missing or take his own life.

"Based upon what we now know about Shalvin coupled with the fact his vehicle and some personal possessions are still missing it is believed that another person or persons are involved in his disappearance and death," he said.

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Police are also interested in two other cars, both seen speeding from McRobbie Rd just before 6.30am on Thursday.

Both vehicles carried on straight through the intersection into Kingseat Rd travelling in the Pukekohe direction. One vehicle was described as blue or silver while the other was white.

"Police are urging the drivers of these vehicles to come forward to be eliminated from the investigation," Lynch said.

"This is a remote location and both drivers will be well aware that their vehicles will be of interest to the investigation."

He warned that "the longer they wait to come forward will increase the level of interest police have in them and we urge them to contact us as soon as possible".

Police are yet to establish what kind of accelerant was used to light the fire.

- Auckland Now

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