'He has given us our life sentence'

The killer of murdered taxi driver Hiren Mohini has been jailed for 15 years by a Chinese court. photo / supplied
The killer of murdered taxi driver Hiren Mohini has been jailed for 15 years by a Chinese court. photo / supplied

The widow of murdered Auckland taxi driver Hiren Mohini says she and her family will serve their own life sentence but she is happy with the 15 years her husband's killer will serve in a Chinese jail.

Zhen Xiao, 24, fled to China after he stabbed Mr Mohini to death in his taxi in the Auckland suburb of Mt Eden in January last year.

He was arrested and tried in China -- the first time in New Zealand criminal history a person had been tried in another country for a murder committed in this country.

Yesterday a panel of three trial judges jailed Zhen for 15 years. Earlier Chinese authorities agreed he would not be executed if he was found guilty.

Today Mr Mohini's widow Falguni Mohini said she was happy with the 15-year sentence but she and her two daughters, Hetvi, five, and Yashvi, seven, had been given a life sentence and nothing would bring her husband back.

"I am very satisfied with the sentence in China of 15 years,'' she told NZPA.

She told NZPA said neither she nor the family wanted the death sentence.

But a lengthy jail sentence or the death penalty would not bring her husband back.

"He (Zhen) has given us our life sentence.''

Yesterday's sentence would now give the family the chance to move on.

"I would like to thank everyone who has supported us.''

Chinese authorities and the New Zealand police had "done a magnificent job for us,'' she said.

Detective Senior Sergeant Hywel Jones, who led the murder inquiry in Auckland and travelled to China for the trial, said the verdict was no surprise.

He said the evidence was "compelling.

"The prosecution process has been intriguing and is a testament to international co-operation.''

Zhen's trial before a panel of judges in Shanghai's Second Intermediate Court lasted only a few hours because there were no prosecution witnesses, just hand-up evidence from New Zealand police which had been translated into Mandarin.

The court said Zhen's remorse for the murder was a reason for not imposing a harsher sentence.

Zhen told the court he had not meant to kill Mr Mohini.

His aunt, Li Liping, said he deserved the jail term and the family had failed to bring him up properly.

She was in tears as she said the family would probably not appeal the sentence and they felt they could now look Mr Mohini's family in the face.

- NZPA

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