Headless skeleton to be returned to family

AMY MAAS
Last updated 07:07 14/01/2013
Javed Fraser Mills
VICTIM: Javed Fraser Mills.

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The family of a man whose headless skeleton was discovered in a Mt Wellington garage will finally be able to lay him to rest 16 months after he was found.

The remains of Javed Mills, 22, found by contractors at a Barrack Rd house in September 2011, will be released by the coroner next week.

Alliance Demolition staff were searching for salvageable timber when they found fragments of clothing clung to bones, which were piled in a heap. The skull was missing.

It took police eight months to identify Mills.

Detective Sergeant Graham Shand refused to say whether Mills' skull had been found as someone was before the courts charged with his murder.

He had informed Mills' family that his body would be returned and said they were "relieved" at being able to hold a funeral.

"It's been a long period since they discovered their son was deceased," he said.

"But the final details of [the funeral] and the dates haven't been organised at this stage due to the fact that the remains haven't been returned yet."

It was believed Mills died after an "altercation" during 2009.

In June 2012, James Grant Cooper, 24, was charged with Mills' murder and perverting the course of justice by concealing the death between July 23, 2009 and June 5, 2012.

Cooper denied the murder charge in October, but pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice.

He has been remanded in custody until he goes on trial on July 23.

Mills said goodbye to his mother Lichelle in April 2009 so he could have space to "live his life".

She hugged her son goodbye and told him to "be careful".

She was never aware of the death and was "duped" into thinking he was alive as she received messages through social networking sites supposedly from him.

As Christmas 2009 approached, Mills' brother Tarek tried to make contact with him and through social media website Bebo a message came back.

Mills was in Wellington, it said. He wanted a "fresh start" and had met a group of like minded musicians.

Although it is not clear if Mills was alive when the messages were sent, they allayed his mother's fears.

Two years passed without a word and Lichelle waited for him to get in touch, honouring her sons' wishes for space.

But in May 2012, police visited the family to tell them a body found at a demolition site could be their son.

Lichelle said last year that the news made her "numb".

The family had seen media reports of the find, but had no reason to believe it was their "little man".

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"You never believe it and even when it's confirmed it was like you don't want to know," said Lichelle's partner Peter Mair, last year.

- Auckland Now

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