Friendly home­less man touched many hearts

Central Leader - - NEWS - By MARIKA HILL and EMMA WHIT­TAKER

A home­less man who died a vi­o­lent death is be­ing re­mem­bered as a friendly guy who loved his fam­ily, but his bat­tle with the bot­tle cost him dearly.

Po­lice have con­firmed they are treat­ing the death of Maq­bool Hus­sain, 49, as a homi­cide.

Flow­ers have been placed out­side the va­cant gro­cery store on Do­min­ion Rd where his body was found on Mon­day af­ter­noon. The store is op­po­site the Bal­moral po­lice sta­tion.

Areeb Taimoori was neigh­bours with Mr Hus­sain in the 1990s. At that time, Mr Hus­sain worked as a taxi driver and lived with his wife and daugh­ter in Mt Roskill. They were a happy fam­ily un­til al­co­hol cost him his job and wife, Mr Taimoori says.

‘‘He was a gen­uinely nice guy, but he had a prob­lem with al­co­hol. It broke his fam­ily apart.’’

His wife and daugh­ter moved to Aus­tralia and Mr Hus­sain be­gan liv­ing on the street.

‘‘It’s re­ally sad he had to die by him­self. He had a beau­ti­ful fam­ily, broth­ers and a lot of people who knew him.’’

Hello Sailor front­man Gra­ham Bra­zier, who runs a book­shop on Do­min­ion Rd, says he reg­u­larly shared a friendly smile with Mr Hus­sain.

‘‘He was very well dressed and al­ways said hello. I have heard that if he drank he could get a lit­tle abu­sive … but I never saw that side of him. He didn’t seem ag­gres­sive.’’

Mr Hus­sain could of­ten be seen sit­ting on a bench out­side the Hol­ly­wood Dairy on Do­min­ion Rd.

Mr Bra­zier says he was shocked to hear of his vi­o­lent death.

Bal­moral res­i­dent Dave Wat­son says people who lived nearby kept an eye out for Mr Hus­sain.

An­other res­i­dent Jane, who with­held her last name, says Mr Hus­sain had even touched the heart of a school­boy aged about 13 who would bring food to the home­less man.

‘‘It just shows how lovely and com­pas­sion­ate people can be, he was just so sad when he heard.’’

Mr Hus­sain had been liv­ing rough in a par­tially en­closed stor­age area at the for­mer gro­cery store for al­most a year.

De­tec­tive In­spec­tor Chris Cahill says Mr Hus­sain was fa­tally as­saulted be­tween 6.30pm on Satur­day and mid­day on Mon­day.

Po­lice have al­ready spo­ken to people who saw Mr Hus­sain alive on Satur­day.

‘‘We’re ob­vi­ously very in­ter­ested in hear­ing from any­one who has in­for­ma­tion about who he might have had in­ter­ac­tions with re­cently.’’

Mr Hus­sain is orig­i­nally from Pak­istan but has lived in New Zealand since 1992.

His fu­neral was held on Wed­nes­day at Waikumete Ceme­tery.

In mem­ory: Flow­ers have been left out­side the empty build­ing where Maq­bool Hus­sain was liv­ing rough.

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