David Fisher is a senior reporter for the NZ Herald.

'He had so many chances and chose the worst way' - victim's daughter speaks on slain man

Beryl Harris met Savey Sous, pictured, when he was a teenager facing court for burgling her elderly mother. Photo / Supplied
Beryl Harris met Savey Sous, pictured, when he was a teenager facing court for burgling her elderly mother. Photo / Supplied

The man who was shot by police "had so many chances and he chose the worst way", says the daughter of an elderly victim.

Author and health advocate Beryl Harris expressed sympathy for the parents of Savey Sous, who died after being shot by police in Whanganui on Friday, but said she was "not sorry he was gone".

Sous, 32, was shot by police in the shoulder and torso after drawing a sawn-off shotgun on officers who turned up after reports of a domestic dispute. Sous later advanced on police cordons when he was shot and fatally wounded.

After his death, it was revealed Sous had a lengthy criminal history, including convictions for violence, although his father, Savuth South, told Newshub his son was trying to turn his life around.

Harris said she had met the man when he was aged about 15 in the fallout of a series of burglaries at the home of her mother, who was aged 89 at the time.

She was prompted to speak out after concerns were voiced that Sous, who came to New Zealand as a refugee when he was a boy, had language difficulties.

"There was not a language problem," she said.

Having attended court hearings and a family conference, she said she recalled asking the boy about his favourite subject at school.

"English," he replied.

Harris said: "He spoke well, so not a hard-done-by person by any means."

Last week's fatal shooting prompted Harris to email her children, saying: "I can tell you it was well-earned."

She told her children: "Do not let pity or dread overcome you, I was in the courtroom and at a conference with him. I have my thoughts and they are not good."

She told them Sous had broken into her elderly mother's home three times in two weeks - including breaking a window and entering the house as she slept.

She said her mother was not Sous' only elderly victim; a 93-year-old man had earlier been burgled by Sous and other teenagers.

"His dad now says he got in with a bad crowd. He was the bad crowd. After those first robberies he broke into his parents' house and stole his mother's wedding ring."

She said his father's reference to Sous being a "good boy" was better stated: "He was our son, we loved him."

"He was a bad boy or why was his wife beaten up enough to ring for police and why did this so-called 'good boy' have - and present - a sawn-off shotgun at the police?

"I am not sorry that he has gone he had so many chances and he chose the worst way.

"Sorry for his parents who were always hopeful that he might be better."

- NZ Herald

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