A driver who killed two people in a crash after fleeing police has been sent to jail for three years and disqualified from driving for four years.

Connor Talaimanu, 29, and Sharina Storm Meuli, 25, were both killed in the Morningside crash on October 23 last year.

Today the court heard the driver, Prushya Chaichumphon, had fled police at speed with four passengers in the car.

Judge Nevin Dawson said the car had first been spotted by police driving 130km/h in an 80km/h zone.


Chaichumphon had then driven in excess of 160km/h and made dangerous manoeuvres across all four lanes of an Auckland motorway as he fled police, he said.

It came to an end when the car hit a tree on St Lukes Rd.

"It's totally unacceptable to the community," Judge Dawson said.

A message needed be sent to the public that if people fled police at dangerous speeds higher sentences would be imposed, he said.

Andrew Talaimanu said his son Connor was "the very best of the best", as a young athlete who possessed a huge intellect and a strong sense of fairness.

Talaimanu could read the front page of the Herald at just 4, he said.

"He was a beacon of light that was true and sure."

There were no words to describe leaving him at the hospital after his death.


"I was screaming inside but outside I was still numb," Talaimanu said.

"I did not know what to feel or what to do next.

"No parent should ever have to feel the pain of losing a child - a pain I will now always feel."

Tributes were laid for the victims after the crash. Photo / File
Tributes were laid for the victims after the crash. Photo / File

He demanded answers from Chaichumphon about what had happened in the car he called a "weapon of death".

Connor Talaimanu's mother Vivianne Talaimanu spoke of her son's horrific death and of the many Mother's Day cards and birthday cards she had been robbed of.

"There will only be that empty chair and the memories you took from us."

She had been unable to hug her son in the hospital due to the severity of his injuries, she said.

His skull was crushed and he had lost his right eye, she said.

"I could not let my son suffer. I had to let him go.

"The news of Connor's death almost killed my father.

"This was not an accident and I refuse to acknowledge it as an accident."

Connor Talaimanu's older sister Renee said he had applied to join the police shortly before his death because he wanted to give back to the Manurewa community.

"He was so excited to be a police officer. Becoming a police officer meant everything to him."

He was an incredibly doting uncle, and now her daughter would always share her birthday with the date that he died, she said.

Connor Talaimanu died in a car crash on St Lukes Rd following a police pursuit.
Connor Talaimanu died in a car crash on St Lukes Rd following a police pursuit.

It pained her that she had been abroad on holiday at the time of the crash and that four days had passed after his death before she could see her brother.

"I never got to hold his hand while it was still warm ... I never got to say goodbye to him."

Meuli's mother Belinda O'Connor spoke of the heartache that followed when her younger daughter called to tell her of Sharina's death.

"Sharina was not ready to go," she said.

The driver had not shown genuine remorse, she said.

Chaichumphon was not under the influence of alcohol or drugs that day, she said.

"You knew exactly what you were doing.

"You will be forever responsible for the death of my daughter."

She said the family had already been served a life sentence by Chaichumphon's actions.

Meuli's father Aaron Meuli called for Chaichumphon to face a harsh penalty, saying that society needed these actions to be denounced.

His daughter would have never stepped into that car if she had known what decisions the driver would make - she was an "exceptional", responsible young woman, he said.

"This was just devastating, the shock was overwhelming, the sadness followed.

"I find myself every day sad, angry and tired."

His enthusiasm for life had been tarnished, he said.

"Every day you feel something is missing."

Meuli's grandmother spoke of the loss of the woman who was her "only grandchild for 11 years".

She felt she needed to speak out for the 25-year-old they cherished to protect her reputation.

"People make assumptions when they hear a young woman was killed in a car fleeing from the police."

Meuli was a delightful young girl who danced around like a butterfly and grew into a kind woman, she said.

"She cared about people a lot."

She said her grand-daughter had a strong work ethic and most companies she worked for had asked her to take on leadership roles.

"They could count on her."

Crown prosecutor Jo Murdoch said Chaichumphon had driven in a grossly irresponsible and dangerous manner before hitting a tree.

There was a public interest that he be sentenced to prison, she said.

Defence lawyer Maria Pecotic said Chaichumphon carried the consequences of his appalling decisions every day and was still a young man, being only 22 at the time of the crash.

"He apologised in person to both of the families."

He had also entered a guilty plea.

Judge Dawson said he accepted Chaichumphon's remorse was genuine.

Chaichumphon was convicted on two charges of dangerous driving causing death and two charges of dangerous driving causing injury.