By PATRICK GOWER
Two police officers who dropped an insane Somali killer at an Auckland mosque watched his victim, Alan Priestley, let him in.
The actions of the constables, who returned to the mosque 25 minutes later to find Mohamed Hussein standing over the 72-year-old cleaner's mutilated body, are the subject of an internal police inquiry.
The Herald has learned that a witness, Nur Warsame, heard Hussein tell the police, "it's me, remember me?" when they arrived.
A jury last week found Hussein not guilty of Mr Priestley's murder on the grounds of insanity, after psychiatrists said the 22-year-old refugee was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia at the time.
He killed Mr Priestley in a frenzied attack that included pulling off his glasses to stab his eyes with a key.
The officers had taken Hussein away from his Mt Albert home at about 2.50am on the day of the murder last July after being called by family members, who said he was attacking them.
The family asked the officers to take Hussein to hospital, but instead they took an "insistent" Hussein to the Stoddard Rd mosque in Mt Roskill, where he was let in by a short man with glasses, later identified as the 147cm Mr Priestley.
They went back at 3.15am after Mr Warsame and others found Hussein with Mr Priestley's body and called 111.
One of the officers found Hussein in the mosque foyer, holding Mr Priestley's glasses in one hand and the key he had stabbed him with in the other.
The psychiatrists gave evidence that Hussein's mental disease was often hard to spot and even his own GPs did not detect it.
But Hussein's uncle Abdiwali Ali, a Somali community leader, said the police officers should share some of the blame for the murder.
They had ignored the family's advice and hung up the phone on Hussein's mother, who had arranged for a Somali interpreter to speak to them.
"They told the police [Hussein] was sick, to take him to hospital," Mr Ali said.
"But the police don't listen. They listen to the sick guy instead and take him to the mosque, a public place, and leave him there."
By PATRICK GOWER