Pair stole thousands in invasion

Last updated 12:35 02/10/2012

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An Upper Hutt couple were tied up, had pillowcases put over their heads as gun-carrying masked intruders broke into their home and demanded money and gold, a court has heard.

Malcolm and Yvonne Wiffen were at their Silverstream home on June 19 last year and Mrs Wiffen was just about to make a meal when she found men in her kitchen with a sawn off shotgun.

The couple, both in their 60s, had plastic ties put on their wrists, put on the floor and their heads covered with pillowcases.

The men demanded drugs, money and gold and wanted to know about a safe in the house.

During a search the safe was found in the basement and Mrs Wiffen forced to open it with a gun held to her head.

Crown prosecutor Sally Carter told a Wellington District Court jury that somewhere between $50,000 and $80,000 in cash was taken along with some jewellery.

She said two of the men were Jeremy Brian Gorinski, 34 and Dinesh Kumar Manoharan, 36.  Both are charged with aggravated robbery and have pleaded not guilty.

Ms Carter said neither of the Wiffens would be able to describe their attackers who were all in dark clothing, wearing gloves and had their faces blackened.

At one point the men told the Wiffens they were FBI or a gang called Full Blooded Islanders which Ms Carter said was a ruse to hide their identities.

She said after the men had left, Mrs Wiffen was able to get a hand out of the ties and help her husband get free before calling police.

She told the jury there was circumstantial evidence tying the men to the robbery. In the days after they were with a group that had a large amount of cash. Gorinski bought a car for $8900 in cash.

The two men were found several days later in a garage in Wainuiomata.

Gorinski was wearing a ring that had been taken from the Wiffen's. A camera found in his backpack had pictures of piles of cash.

A footprint impression found on the Wiffen's kitchen floor matched a shoe of Gorinski's, Ms Carter said.

Manoharan's lawyer Christopher Stevenson said his client was not part of the robbery and had not been in the house. He welcomed the trial as a chance to clear his name.

Gorinski's lawyer Keith Jefferies said the Crown case was flawed.

They had singled out two people but there was no evidence the men had been at the Wiffen's home.

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- The Dominion Post

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