Hammer attack murderer was on bail when he killed wife's new partner

Niraj Nilesh Prasad. Photo: George Heard
Niraj Nilesh Prasad. Photo: George Heard
WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT: When Niraj Nilesh Prasad bludgeoned his wife's new partner to death with a hammer, he was on bail, subject to a protection order, and a trespass notice.

Six months before the February 2021 murder, Prasad had assaulted his wife when she said she was leaving, striking her in the face, and on the body and then delivering her for medical treatment for her bleeding mouth and swollen eye.

He said he snapped. He claimed he snapped again when he took a hammer and knife and lay in wait for two hours in the home of Faiz Ali, his wife's new partner, and then stabbed and bashed him to death.

Justice Rob Osborne did not accept it. He rejected provocation, remorse and even good character and imposed a life term with a non-parole term of 18 years six months on the 39-year-old accountant.

The earlier assault by Prasad on his wife has not been known until today, when he was sentenced for that as well. He got a six-month, concurrent jail term which will not affect the main sentence.

It meant he was on bail at the time of the murder, and his ex-wife - who was not present at the time of the murder - had been granted a protection order against him. Faiz Ali had taken out a trespass order against him the previous day, after he was seen at his Christchurch flat, photographing the wife's car.

Faiz Ali. Photo: Supplied
Faiz Ali. Photo: Supplied
Prasad, had denied murdering Fijian-born Ali in a hammer and knife attack on February 21, 2021, but was found guilty by a jury in the High Court at Christchurch on the fifth day of his trial in March, and sentenced by Justice Rob Osborne today.

The jury rejected the defence argument that Prasad was not guilty of murder because he did not have murderous intent. Defence counsel James Rapley QC argued the evidence showed the killing took place in the context of a struggle and was a case of self-defence.

But the Crown said the killing took place when Prasad broke in and lay in wait for Ali at his home, armed with a hammer and a knife, after "six months of pent-up rage and aggression" following the end of his marriage.

The Crown said Ali received 38 wounds from the hammer and knife attack which caused "plainly visible catastrophic head injuries" and would have continued when he was defenceless, dying, and perhaps even dead.

Prasad sat downcast in the dock as the family of the victim of his hammer murder heaped their pain and sorrow upon him.

A sister of Faiz Ali, asked: "How can someone have so much hatred towards another person?"

Relatives of Ali told of the entire family being shattered and traumatised.

Prasad sat in the dock during his sentencing, masked and looking down at his hands clasped in his lap, as family members called him a coward and "a cruel and inhuman devil".

Faiz Ali's sister said Prasad's "vile act of vengeance" had taken away a pillar of their family. His "cowardly act" had taken away a loving father, son, brother, and friend.

A cousin of Ali said Prasad's decision to take Faiz Ali's life without any regard to the effect on others was unimaginable. Ali was the sole bread-winner for his family and he was continuing to support them back in Fiji.

A statement was read from the wife who had separated from Faiz Ali in 2016 and returned to Fiji with their two children. He had kept his promise to continue to support them, but that support was now gone and they were struggling. She would never forget or forgive Prasad for his act of murder.

Rapley asked for provocation to be taken into account.

Prasad said he had "snapped" when Ali came into his flat having an intimate telephone conversation with Prasad's wife.

But Justice Osborne said Prasad had carefully prepared in advance, taking a hammer and knife, wearing gloves, and breaking into Ali's flat where he lay in wait for two hours. The attack began in the hallway as soon as Ali entered, and ended with more than 20 hammer blows to the head as he lay on the bed.

The hammer blows had "shattered and demolished" his skull.

He said after hearing the victim impact statements that Ali had been a wonderful, caring, gentle, and honourable man who had been "a generous bastion of financial support for those around him and dependent on him".

He noted that Prasad had written letters of apology to his own family, and the victim's family, but had never expressed a word of apology to his wife.

Justice Osborne also praised the bravery of neighbours who went to Ali's apartment after hearing the attack take place, to see if they could help.

-By David Clarkson
Open Justice multimedia journalist

Local trusted journalism matters - now more than ever

As the Covid-19 pandemic brings the world into uncharted waters, Star Media journalists and photographers continue to report local stories that matter everyday - yours.

For more than 152 years our journalists have provided Cantabrians with local news that can be trusted. It’s more important now than ever to keep Cantabrians connected.

As our advertising has fallen during the pandemic, support from you our reader is crucial.

You can help us continue to provide local news you can trust simply by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter