Bodies-under-the-bridge murders: Kamal Reddy jailed for at least 21 years

A man who killed his ex-partner and her three-year-old daughter and buried their bodies under a bridge has been jailed for at least 21 years.

Pakeeza Yusuf and her daughter, Juwairiyah "Jojo" Kalim lay covered by stone and mud on Auckland's North Shore for nearly eight years before they were found.

Kamal Gyanendra Reddy, 43, was found guilty of their murder at trial last month after a cunning six-month undercover police operation drew a confession from the remorseless killer.

At trial he claimed the admissions of guilt were false and today he maintained his stance of innocence, defence counsel Jonathan Krebs said.

But Justice Raynor Asher said he was convinced Reddy was responsible and slammed his witness-box denials.

"What you said was remarkable for its obvious invention, its inconsistencies and at times its complete uncertainty," the judge said.

Pakeeza with Jojo. Photo / Supplied
Pakeeza with Jojo. Photo / Supplied

"[The victims] deserved to live happy lives. Instead they died a terrible death at your hands."

Reddy's actions put him in "the very worst category" of criminal for the "shocking and callous double murder".

In the High Court at Auckland this morning the victims' mother and grandmother Mubarak Rojina Banu said she was haunted by thoughts of what they had been through.

"What terrible things must they have seen and felt? My daughter would have been calling for me and I wasn't there to help her," she said.

"I could only bury some of my daughter and granddaughter's skeletal remains . . . I didn't just have to see their lifeless bodies, I had to see their skeletons."

She had contact with Reddy during the period she came from Fiji to Auckland to search for Ms Yusuf and Jojo and even cooked meals for him at his request.

Juwairiyah Kalim, known as 'Jojo'. Photo / Supplied
Juwairiyah Kalim, known as 'Jojo'. Photo / Supplied

"It makes me physically sick," she told the court. "He must have a hard heart to come in front of me like that with no shame, no fear and no conscience.
and the pain he's put us through, and I'll never forgive him."

Reddy only came under the authorities' microscope in 2013 when Ms Banu filed a missing-persons report.

Justice Asher called it "the perfect crime", until that point.

Pakeeza's uncle Firoz Mohammed (in blue) supports Jojo's father, Mohammed Faizal (in black) and Pakeeza's father, Mohammed Yusuf, at Takapuna burial site. Photo / Dean Purcell
Pakeeza's uncle Firoz Mohammed (in blue) supports Jojo's father, Mohammed Faizal (in black) and Pakeeza's father, Mohammed Yusuf, at Takapuna burial site. Photo / Dean Purcell

He became a prime suspect when police discovered he had appeared in Manukau District Court in 2007 charged with threatening to kill Ms Yusuf and assaulting her ex-husband with a machete.

But it was the undercover investigation - the details of which are suppressed - that caught the killer.

After creating dozens of staged criminal events for Reddy to participate in, the undercover team ultimately gained his trust.

Later, he unwittingly told a "Mr Big" figure that he had strangled Ms Yusuf with the cord of an electrical iron before smothering Jojo with a pillow and later led police to the burial site.

Police investigating the site where Pakeeza and Jojo's remains were found in October 2014. Photo / Jason Oxenham
Police investigating the site where Pakeeza and Jojo's remains were found in October 2014. Photo / Jason Oxenham

The victims were found buried under the Takapuna overbridge in Auckland's North Shore in October 2014.

At trial Reddy said he had helped the real killer, a part-Indian man called James, find a burial site but had no role in their death.

"He's very sorry he didn't go straight to the police," Mr Krebs said.

The Crown said Reddy killed the woman out of anger that she had previously made a scene in front of his family, jealousy that she may have been seeing someone else and resentment that he had been denied entry to her Howick flat.

He killed Jojo because she would have inevitably outed him as the killer, prosecutor Natalie Walker said.

"You did it to save your skin, or so you thought. It was an act of particular callousness," Justice Asher said.

After the murders in early 2007, Reddy frantically drove around Bombay Hills south of Auckland, looking for a suitable area to dispose of them. When the search proved fruitless, he called his uncle Bal Naidu in the early hours of the morning and drove to his Papatoetoe address.

Mr Naidu, who worked in construction, pointed out a couple of locations by the bridge that would be suitable. The next day, Reddy went back and dug for hours before dumping the victims side by side.

- NZ Herald

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