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NZ man gets life term for killing Indian

James Lawrie has got life term with a minimum non-parole period of 16 years for murdering B Vaghela.

india Updated: Aug 22, 2006 13:20 IST

An unemployed 25-year-old New Zealand man has been sentenced for life with a minimum non-parole period of 16 years for the murder of an Indian shop-worker last year.

James Junior Lawrie of West Auckland was given the jail term by Justice David Baragwanath in the Auckland High Court for the murder of 58-year-old Bhagubhai Vaghela on June 19 last year at an Auckland dairy, according to a New Zealand Press Association (NZPA) report.

Lawrie admitted that he had murdered Vaghela, who was working on a shift at the Uptown Minimart dairy in the Auckland suburb of Eden Terrace.

He also admitted to five other armed robberies last year.

The point blank shooting of Vaghela was the culmination of a two-week crime wave that Lawrie had unleashed, according to police.

Prosecutor Ross Burns told the court that Lawrie had also admitted he had smoked a kilogram of methamphetamine worth $1 million before the murder.

Meanwhile, the court was told by Burns that the murder has totally devastated the Vaghela family. Vaghela's wife who has come back to India is constantly ill.

His family was struggling with the death of a man described as kind, considerate and gentle man who put his family first, Ross said.

Lawrie's lawyer Roger Chambers said his client had taken responsibility for what he had done and was sorry for the grief he had caused to the family.

"Any person who has lost a family member through an awful crime never forgets and never gets over it. Parents, sisters, husbands, wives, they never recover from that sort of thing," the NZPA report quoted Chambers as saying.

He also said that if Lawrie had the chance, he would tell the victim's family he was "sorry, very sorry".

First Published: Aug 22, 2006 13:20 IST