Two Auckland men were brutally stabbed to death at work in an attack fuelled by "delusional jealousy", a court has heard.

Their alleged murderer, who believed he was talking to God and would offer "sacrifices", then read passages from his Bible.

Zarn Tarapata, 27, is accused of murdering Paul Matthews, 47, and Paul Fanning, 69, at the Takanini Ezy Cash store, where the pair worked, on July 19, 2014.

Tarapata, who is on trial in the High Court at Auckland before a jury and Justice Simon Moore, accepts he killed the men but argues he was legally insane at the time.


His lawyer Jonathan Krebs said his client suffered from schizophrenia, and had been diagnosed by more than one psychologist.

Crown prosecutor Richard Marchant told the court that Tarapata arrived at the pawn shop just after 1pm with his partner, Tamara Cassie, and children.

Cassie, who also worked part-time at the store, entered the Great South Rd store and told Tarapata to stay in the car with her children, the court heard.

Matthews and Fanning, the owner of the shop, were sitting in the lunchroom at the back of the shop eating noodles.

But Tarapata left the car and snuck around to the rear of the business.

He then "brutally stabbed them to death" in about three minutes, Marchant said.

"These two men had done nothing wrong, they were true victims," the prosecutor said.

He added that Tarapata's motive was "delusional jealousy", believing that Cassie was having an affair with Matthews and Fanning, or was "being sexually exploited by one or both of them".

The two men died at the back of the Ezy Cash store on Great South Rd, Takanini, where they worked. Photo / Chris Loufte
The two men died at the back of the Ezy Cash store on Great South Rd, Takanini, where they worked. Photo / Chris Loufte

Cassie testified today that there was no sexual relationship with either man.

Fanning was stabbed six times to his chest and neck, and Matthews was stabbed 15 times. His throat was cut.

Cassie will testify that she heard calls for help coming from the rear of the shop, Marchant said.

She then, "to her horror", saw Tarapata walking towards her, he said.

"He looked wild, he looked possessed, he had blood on his hands and he was also carrying a knife in his left hand," Marchant said.

Cassie said Tarapata was clutching a 10-15cm silver knife and "didn't look normal".

"I described him looking possessed ... Everything, his actions, his moving, he was breathing heavily, it didn't look like him at all," she told the court.

"His eyes were like really red."

More cries for help could be heard coming from Matthews, the court heard, before Tarapata made his way back towards where the voice was coming from.

Marchant said it was likely to "finish him off".

Tarapata and Cassie then returned to their car and drove around West Auckland, while Tarapata read his Bible.

"He started reading the Bible again, and that was normal, he started becoming normal," Cassie said, adding that Tarapata told her he had beaten Matthews and Fanning.

"He was just quite calm," she said. "His head was in the Bible the whole time."

Tarapata washed his bloody hands in a puddle when the couple stopped near the Avondale Racecourse, the court heard.

One of the knives used in the killings was also buried in a garden and found by police, Marchant said.

Tarapata was arrested later that day in Huntly, where he said his parents lived.

Cassie also gave evidence about how "God had told [Tarapata]" that she had been sleeping with a friend.

She also said Tarapata would make daily "sacrifices" to a higher being.

"He would burn meat, or anything he could offer to God as a gift," she said.

"I think he thought by doing that and praying that he would get answers to questions that he asked in prayers."

The Ezy Cash killings may seem like "it's crazy, it's unhinged, it's madness", Marchant told the court, "but there is a big difference to what you and I may think is insane and what the law defines as being insane".

"The test for insanity requires much more than someone being delusional, much more than someone hallucinating, much more than someone being paranoid or suffering from schizophrenia. This defendant was suffering from all of these.

"He knew what he was doing, he intended to kill them, and he understood that when he was doing these things it was morally wrong."