Shopkeeper killings: 'Nothing has changed'

Ceilla Govind says she used to go to Arun Kumar's Railside Dairy. Photo: NZ Herald/Mark Mitchell
Ceilla Govind says she used to go to Arun Kumar's Railside Dairy. Photo: NZ Herald/Mark Mitchell
It's 21 years since her father was beaten to death - and Ceilla Govind can't believe shopkeepers are still being killed while they work.

In 1993, three 16- and 17-year-olds bashed Navin Govind to death with softball bats. They also beat his 11-year-old son Sanjay, who was in the store at the time.

When Ms Govind, now 39, heard about the stabbing of Arun Kumar in Henderson on Tuesday, her thoughts raced back to the night she came home from university and found her father had been attacked.

"That was when my life changed forever," she said. "It pisses me off. Shouldn't we learn something from each murder?

"It's going around in circles. It just feels like Dad was killed ... and all these other people have been killed, and what has actually changed? Nothing. Nothing has changed."

The two killings were "kind of the same situation", she said.

Until she moved to Reporoa recently, Ms Govind had lived in her old family home in West Auckland and worked at the Waitakere council building in Henderson near where Mr Kumar was killed in his Railside Dairy.

"It was like, oh my god, I knew this guy. It was obviously somewhere I used to frequent.

"This dude, who worked really hard, he didn't expect someone to come in and kill him. It's really scary.

"It's crazy. The dudes that killed my dad were 16, 17 years old. It's like, what goes through your head to make this situation acceptable to you?

"It's really difficult for me to reconcile these young people with the crimes they commit. It's really sad. It's desperate people. I don't think they know what the consequences were going to be for their actions."

Running a dairy had become a dangerous occupation, "but it shouldn't be. When those kids murdered my father, they stole, like, $110 and some cigarettes.

"Is that all my dad's life was worth? How can you rationalise that?"

Love you, says boy on murder charge

A 13-year-old boy accused of murdering a West Auckland dairy owner by stabbing him in the neck inside the shop appeared in court yesterday

The boy, who cannot be named because of his age, appeared in the Waitakere Youth Court and entered no plea to a charge of murdering father-of-two Arun Kumar.

Judge Lisa Tremewan said the boy would appear again in the High Court at Auckland this month. He will remain in custody until then.

He did not enter a plea on the other charge he faces - of robbing Mr Kumar with intent to assault him.

A 12-year-old boy also appeared yesterday and entered no plea to the joint charge of robbery with intent to assault.
Arun Kumar Arun Kumar

The 12-year-old will appear again in the Waitakere Youth Court next week. He will also remain in custody.

The boys' lawyers each applied for bail, which the Crown opposed.

Youth Court sittings are closed to the public but a large contingent of the boys' families was allowed in to watch as the two accused, both wearing dark shirts, stood side by side in the dock.

As he was led into custody, the 13-year-old mouthed "love you" to his family members. Some of them yelled the same back at him from the public gallery, as well as comments like, "Be strong, baby."

Mr Kumar, 57, was stabbed in the neck in front of his wife during what is believed to have been an attempted robbery of the Railside Dairy in Henderson about 7.30am on Tuesday.

Police have said Mr Kumar's wife was unhurt but was traumatised, and was being helped by Victim Support and a police ethnic liaison officer.

Family members and friends have paid tribute to Mr Kumar, saying he was a hardworking man, a great husband and father.

- additional reporting APNZ

 

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