A pair of Sri Lankan men have been charged with murdering a dairy worker before burning down his Oxford home.

Sameera Chandrasena, 28, a Sri Lankan national, was found dead in the burnt-out shell of his Domain Road home on February 23.

Police said he had been beaten to death before his house was set on fire.

Two Sri Lankan men, aged 23 and 33, were arrested soon after the death on unrelated charges.


Detective Inspector Virginia Le Bas today said the pair had been charged with murder and arson.

She said the charges were the result of a complex investigation.

"There have been a number of threads to this investigation and we have also had to contend with a crime scene that was severely fire-damaged.

"I would also like to thank the Sri Lankan community for their cooperation and assistance, which has been invaluable."

Ms Le Bas said formal identification of Mr Chandrasena has been completed and his body would soon be released to family.

Mr Chandrasena, known as Sammy, was a popular figure in the small Oxford community, where he worked as a farmhand.

A permanent New Zealand resident, he had lived there for around four years and was a member of the local Oxford senior cricket team.

Police investigating his death are still looking to speak to anyone who saw a white Mitsubishi Chariot seven-seater vehicle early on February 23, between Oxford and Christchurch.

- NZ Herald Online Staff