Sentence cut for man who killed friend

Last updated 15:13 30/06/2014

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An Auckland man who killed his friend and then maintained an elaborate ruse that he was alive, has had a year knocked off his sentence.

James Cooper, 25, was jailed last year for eight years and three months after being found guilty of the manslaughter of his friend Javed Mills.

Mills' headless skeleton was found in a Mt Wellington garage in September 2011, two years after his death in July 2009. Cooper maintained Mills dropped dead during a fight.

Cooper was charged with murder but found guilty of manslaughter.

The court heard Cooper buried Mills but exhumed the body a year later and moved the remains to an abandoned house. He smashed the skull and hid the other bones of the skeleton.

In an effort to conceal the death, Cooper set up a fake Bebo account and pretended to be Mills.

He also drew his friend's weekly Work and Income benefit and used his eftpos card regularly.

Justice Christopher Allan sentenced him to four years and three months jail for manslaughter and four years for perverting the course of justice.

Cooper appealed his sentence to the Court of Appeal which today reduced his sentence by one year.

The court said the starting points of the consecutive sentences were too high and reduced both by six months - effectively reducing the sentence to seven years and three months.

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