A double-murder accused says he did not tell police about the real killer because that man had threatened that his friends would come after him.

Kamal Gyanendra Reddy, 42, is on trial before the High Court at Auckland for the alleged murders of Pakeeza Yusuf and her 3-year-old daughter Juwairiyah "Jojo" Kalim.

The pair were found buried under Takapuna overbridge in October 2014 but the Crown says they pair were murdered at the end of 2006 or start of 2007.

Reddy unwittingly led officers to the burial site after an extensive six-month undercover police operation, which began in April 2014.

Advertisement

In a secretly-recorded interview he told police he had strangled the adult victim with an electrical iron cord before smothering the girl with a pillow.

But Reddy's lawyer, Jonathan Krebs, said the killer was not his client but a man called James.

The Crown said the defendant and adult victim had been in a relationship at the time but Mr Krebs said Ms Yusuf was actually with James at the time of her death.

He said his client's link to Ms Yusuf only came about when her father "offered her up" to help Reddy with his visa issues.

Reddy was expected to pay the family between $5000 and $10,000 but reneged on the deal when his employers offered to sponsor him, the court was told.

Mr Krebs said it was only a chance meeting at Botany shopping centre that saw the defendant reacquaint himself with Ms Yusuf.

Reddy said he bumped into her while she was with James and she wrote down her Howick address, encouraging him to visit.

While in the area one day, he took up the offer but was told by James that Ms Yusuf and Jojo were out with friends.

However, the following night, the man came to the defendant's Otahuhu property, confessed that he had killed the pair and wanted to know where to conceal the corpses.

"In a stunning lapse of judgment, he agreed to help," Mr Krebs said.

The lawyer asked his client why he had not gone straight to the police instead.

Reddy told the court James had said if he ended up in jail his mates would come after the defendant.

He told the court he had never met James' friends before, did not know his surname or where he lived now.

Reddy described James as a part-Indian man - clean shaven, well built, taller than him and neatly dressed.

After being threatened by him, the defendant said he went to his uncle Bal Naidu, who suggested the North Shore burial site when Reddy told him he had found the victims dead at their home.

Mr Naidu earlier told the court that Reddy had outed himself as the murderer but the defendant today claimed he never made such a statement.

Hours after his uncle had shown him the potential burial area on the North Shore, Reddy said he spoke to James and passed on the information.

He said he spoke to the man four times over the next month but never heard from him again.

"He didn't kill Pakeeza and Jojo. James killed Pakeeza and Jojo," Mr Krebs told the jury.

"Mr Reddy assisted with advice as to where the bodies could be disposed of. He's guilty of being an accessory after the fact but he's not guilty of the murders."

The trial continues.