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Killer finds out victim a relative

Last updated 11:02 30/05/2014

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A man who fatally ran over a stranger who had punched him found out in prison that he was related to his victim.

Auckland man Sitanilei Vailahi Haufano, 26, was today sentenced to six years in prison for the manslaughter of Uilisuni Ofa.

A jury found that Haufano intentionally ran over Ofa early on November 14, 2012.

Ofa was chasing a friend of Haufano's down Great North Rd and Haufano followed in his car, crossed the centre-line and mowed down the 30-year-old.

The High Court at Auckland heard today that while he was in jail awaiting trial, Haufano found out that he was related to Ofa.

The killer and the victim came together by chance.

Haufano had stopped his car to allow his intoxicated friend to vomit and across the road, Ofa had stopped and was arguing with his wife.

Haufano's laughter attracted the attention of Ofa, who punched him four times through the driver's window of his car.

The scuffle caused Haufano's friend to run away and Ofa chased him around the corner.

Haufano followed in his car and caught up with Ofa on Great North Rd.

At a "moderate" speed he crossed the centre-line and ran over Ofa without braking.

Haufano's lawyer John Kovacevich said his client was dazed and confused after being struck and was "panicked".

However, Justice Edwin Wylie said Haufano's actions were not random.

He did not stop at an intersection as he pursued Ofa and he steered the car deliberately across the road to hit him.

Mother-of-three Betty Diploma Faaoa was also sentenced to seven months home detention for being an accessory after the fact.

Faaoa was a "go-between" who arranged a meeting for Haufano and his friends to get their stories straight and advised Haufano to destroy his SIM card and get rid of his car.

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