Kamal Reddy found guilty of murder

Kamal Reddy (File)
Kamal Reddy (File)

Kamal Reddy has been found guilty of murdering his ex-partner and her young daughter in Auckland nearly ten years ago.

After four-and-a-half hours of deliberations, a jury at the High Court in Auckland concluded the 42-year-old did kill Pakeeza Yusuf and her three-year-old daughter Juwairiyah 'Jojo' Kalim in late 2006.

As each of the guilty verdicts were read out, those in the public gallery sat silently. A number of them are related to the victims and have sat through every day of the three-week trial.

Detective Sergeant Stephen Nightingale read a statement from Ms Yusuf's family outside court.

"We've been waiting a very long time for today's guilty verdict. We would like to thanks the police and the Crown for all of their hard work.

"We are extremely pleased this offender will now be held accountable for his terrible actions.

"We would never wish for anyone to go through what we have, and our thankful our questions have finally be answered and we can now begin to move forward with our lives."

The pair was last heard from in late 2006 but a missing persons inquiry was only launched around seven years later.

Ms Yusuf's mother says they last spoke on the phone around Christmas in 2006. She told the court her daughter was distressed.

It wasn't until early 2013 that a missing persons investigation began after Ms Yusuf's mother contacted police.

In the following months, after analysing bank records, police identified Kamal Reddy as a suspect and launched a significant undercover operation.

Details of the operation remain suppressed, but media can report Reddy joined undercover officers in a series of "simulated criminal scenarios" during that time.

It was near the end of that operation that Reddy confessed to carrying out the murders, describing how he did it and where he buried the bodies.

He told an undercover officer on a night in late 2006, Ms Yusuf told Reddy to "go home from my life". Then, while she was sleeping, he took the electrical cord from an iron and strangled her to death.

Afterwards, he went into the room where Jojo was sleeping and smothered her with a pillow.

In search of a place to bury the bodies, Reddy put them into the boot of his car and drove south to Auckland's Bombay Hills.

Unable to find somewhere, he turned up at the house of his uncle, Bal Naidu, and asked for help.

Mr Naidu, who was a construction worker at a site on Auckland's North Shore at the time, took Reddy to an area which is today known as the Takapuna Landing Bridge and pointed out two locations.

Reddy went on to dig a hole as deep as his own height and put the bodies inside before covering it back up with stones and dirt.

The bodies laid undiscovered for nearly seven years. Naidu was later convicted on a charge of being an accessory after the fact to murder.

"Reddy must have thought he got away with murder," Crown prosecutor Natalie Walker told the jury in her closing arguments.

"And if it not for two comprehensive police investigations in 2013 and 2014 into the disappearance of this mother and daughter, he would have."

The undercover aspect of that operation lasted six months. Reddy was befriended by undercover officers, and eventually admitted his guilt.

"No blood, 'cause I just used the [electrical cord from the] table iron. That's all. Just tighten it," he told undercover officers in covert video evidence presented to the jury.

"She's gone and then I go for the daughter."

Under further questioning he even described the location where he buried the bodies.

"Take her body and dump it where the new bridge was [being made on the] North Shore."

Reddy told undercover cops the grave took him all night to dig. He said there were no cameras in the area and he even left up the bonnet of his car so it would appear to any passers-by as if he'd simply broken down.

Police later began excavations at the site and found the bodies buried side by side in a deep hole, covered in stones and dirt, just as Reddy had described.

The Defence had said the undercover operation used "trickery and deceit" and that Reddy's confession was false -- made under immense pressure.

Reddy also gave evidence in his own defence, arguing Ms Yusuf had a new partner called "James" and it was he who was the real killer.

But the jury did not buy his story.

Reddy will be sentenced next month.