Family members of Javed Mills experienced a "nightmare of
diabolic proportions" as details of his violent death
emerged, a court heard today.
The 25-year-old's incomplete skeleton was found at a property
in Mt Wellington, Auckland in September 2011 as demolition
work was scheduled to begin.
His killer and former flatmate, James Cooper, 25, was today
sentenced at the High Court in Auckland to more than eight
years in prison for charges stemming from the death.
Cooper, who was 21 at the time, did not dispute his
involvement and pleaded guilty to covering it up. But he
denied murder and claimed he killed Mr Mills accidentally in
self-defence. In August, a jury found Cooper not guilty of
murder but guilty of manslaughter.
Victim impact statements from the family of Mr Mills read in
court today detailed how difficult Mr Mills' death, the
resulting police investigation and ongoing court proceedings
A statement from his mother Lichelle Mills, who sat in the
public gallery with her husband Peter Mair, said her eldest
son had been taken in an act of "senseless, deliberate
"I was forced to endure eight long months of absolute agony
before I could finally lay Javed to rest with the respect he
It was a "nightmare of diabolic proportions" she stated.
Her son was living in the downstairs den of Cooper's parents
house when the pair got into a fight in July 2009.
He was beaten to death in a small shed at the back of the
Barrack Rd property.
Over the next two years Cooper took various steps to cover up
the death. This included keeping his body in a small
crawlspace in the den, moving the remains around, posing as
Mr Mills on social media while messaging his family and
friends, and using Mr Mills bankcard to withdraw his WINZ
benefit each week and spend it.
A statement from Mr Mills' uncle, Brent Mills, said news of
his nephew's death left him bedridden and unable to function.
"The following days after were a living hell. My whole body
was in shock and I couldn't move without great pain.
"I still to this day suffer from the trauma inflicted on our
family and friends from this callous act," he said in his
Mr Mills' younger brother, Tarek Rahman, said in his victim
impact statement details of his brother's death and the
cover-up made him "sick to his stomach".
Justice Christopher Allan said he accepted Cooper's
expression of remorse before handing down a sentence of four
years and three months in jail for the manslaughter offence
and four years for perverting the course of justice.
The terms will be served cumulatively, meaning Cooper will
spend more than eight years in prison.