An Auckland man brutally murdered a church bell-ringer just metres from the chapel in a frenzied machete attack after suspecting he was having an affair with his wife.
Ueta Vea pleaded guilty yesterday in the High Court at Auckland to killing Laulimu Liuasi, a 62-year-old man who was living on the grounds of the St John the Evangelist Church in Ōtara, Auckland.
Vea, 45, was arrested shortly after the attack during the evening of January 13.
Known by his baptismal name of Pio Sheck, Liuasi was also working as a handyman at the church and would ring the church bell to announce the Angelus every day.
Vea and Liuasi attended the church with their families and had also previously worked together to maintain the church property, court documents released to the Herald show.
However, Vea began to suspect the bell-ringer was having an affair with his wife, Veisinia Vea, in November last year.
Vea had discovered sexual messages sent to his wife from Liuasi, who was married himself.
Court documents show Liuasi and Vea's wife were engaged in "flirtatious text communications" and would meet at Liuasi's house on the church grounds.
Vea confronted the pair over the messages several times and the ongoing tensions led to an intervention between the group and their spouses, which was facilitated by the church priest in December.
Liuasi and Vea's wife denied an affair, but Vea remained suspicious as the sexual texts continued.
On January 12, Vea and his wife had a heated argument at a church function in Maraetai, where Vea aired his mistrust over his wife and Liuasi.
It also led to a confrontation with other members of the congregation over Vea's behaviour before Vea also contacted Liuasi to discuss the fracas.
The next morning Vea's wife asked him to move out of the family home - their marriage was over.
Later in the afternoon Vea asked his wife to stop at an Ōtāhuhu home, under the pretext that he was collecting an item for work.
However, he was really collecting his murder weapon - a machete hidden in a cupboard.
Vea wrapped the blade in a blue lavalava and hid it from his wife.
At about 5pm, Vea left the house and walked 3.7km to the church on Ōtara Rd.
Once there he found a hiding spot and tried to observe Liuasi.
Just before 6pm, Liuasi left his home to ring the church bell and Vea snuck into the house - armed with the machete.
He stood behind a wall in the kitchen, near the door, and waited.
When Liuasi returned he was ambushed.
Struck several times to the back of the neck, chin, left ear, left shoulder, hand, and torso, Liuasi collapsed.
During the attack Vea would later recall Liuasi saying "Fia ola", which is Samoan for "I want to live" or "help".
Liuasi quickly became motionless as blood pooled around his head while Vea watched him die for about two minutes.
Vea then fled in Liuasi's car, discarding the machete in a wheelie bin next to the rear door.
He travelled to his wife's house and told her he had just murdered Liuasi.
She immediately went to the church with Vea and found the priest.
The three of them entered Liuasi's home and discovered the grisly scene.
Liuasi's mouth, however, started twitching and the priest noticed he was still breathing.
An ambulance was called but paramedics were unable to revive Liuasi, while police arrested Vea.
When spoken to by officers, Vea immediately admitted killing Liuasi and told them where he had discarded the machete.
He made a further confession during his formal interview and said he was angry at Liuasi's behaviour towards his wife.
Vea will now be sentenced in June.