Man stabbed to death in Petone

TOM HUNT
Last updated 10:40 30/01/2013
Petone
MAARTEN HOLL/Fairfax NZ

CORDONED: The scene in Petone, Wellington, where a man was stabbed to death.

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A patched Mongrel Mob member texted his father to say goodbye before he died from stab wounds in Petone.

Police have launched a homicide investigation after the incident in the Lower Hutt suburb last night.

Sean Verma, 30, died despite rescuers trying to save him in the stairwell of his flat. He leaves behind an 18-month-old son.

Acting Senior Sergeant Andrzej Kowalczyk said police were initially called to an altercation between a man and a woman at the Housing New Zealand-owned Altair flats in East St, Petone about 10.30pm.

When police got to the scene they found the victim in the stairwell of the flats, where a friend was giving him first aid.

Police and ambulance staff continued CPR and other techniques to save him for an hour before he died at the scene. His body was removed last night.

Sean Verma's father, Rajesh Verma, first knew something was wrong when he got a text message simply saying, "Bye" from his son about 8.30pm.

When he later saw police at the East St block of flats, neighbouring his own, he went across and was told a "very serious" crime had been committed.

He was later told his son was dead and hugged the wrapped body as it was removed.

"He was my only son," he said.

"Even though he was Mongrel Mob but he was still my son. I am shattered."

He said his son was not violent.

"He was alright, he was a good man."

Verma, 57, is left looking after his son's 18-month-old boy. Police said Sean Verma's partner, 29, was arrested last night.

She was still to be interviewed by police this morning and had not been charged. Police were still at the scene this morning.

Police said local residents did not need to be concerned for their safety and asked witnesses to contact police.

An autopsy would be conducted today.

Neighbour Rachel Cooper said when she left her house near the flats at about 11pm she heard raised voices. When she returned about 1am she found the street cordoned off, with eight to 10 police cars and police in forensic suits investigating the scene.

Mongrel Mob associate Peter Paul said he was shocked to hear of his friend's death. Members of the gang gathered at the scene about 2.30am after news of the death spread on Facebook.

"He loved his kids and he loved his computer too," Paul said.

Preparations are being made for Verma's tangi, which would be held at Te Huinga O te Marae Hall.

Verma was serving 10 months' home detention when he died.

In November he was sentenced in High Court in Wellington after earlier pleading guilty to blackmail, assault and wilful damage.

The charges date back to July, when Verma's partner went to look at a property advertised for rent. The man who showed her around texted her later in the day saying it had been let to someone else. He also asked her for oral sex.

The court was told Verma texted back, posing as his partner, and arranged to meet the man. He smashed his car windows with a bat, demanded his keys, and told the man he was dealing with the Mongrel Mob.

The man, whose name was suppressed, managed to drive away, escaping with just superficial cuts to his face.

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Verma sent more texts telling the man he was "dead", saying he knew what his business was, and with references to the man's parents and property he owned. The court heard the man apologised and asked how he could make things right.

He offered to pay $5000 the next day – but Verma demanded $10,000. In sentencing him, Justice Miller told Verma that had he settled for $5000, he might have got away with the attack.

- The Dominion Post

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