Shop killer ‘fol­lowed King David’s God’

Papakura Courier - - OUT & ABOUT - AMANDA SAXTON

Those close to mur­der-ac­cused Zarn Tara­p­ata have spo­ken of his fix­a­tion with the Old Tes­ta­ment as told in the High Court in Auck­land last Fri­day.

The jury heard that hours af­ter Tara­p­ata, 27, stabbed two pawn shop work­ers to death in July 2014, he told his fa­ther he ‘‘fol­lowed King David’s God’’ and that his name was Is­rael. Tara­p­ata’s fa­ther, Stephen Tara­p­ata, also told the court his son had ac­cused him of hav­ing sex with Ta­mara Cassie — part­ner of the ac­cused and the mother of his chil­dren.

Ta­mara, who was work­ing at the pawn shop at the time of the killings, said mes­sages from God — in­clud­ing one in­form­ing Tara­p­ata that Cassie was hav­ing an af­fair with one or both of her mur­dered col­leagues — ‘‘had be­come nor­mal’’ for the stay-ath­ome dad.

De­fence lawyer Jonathan Krebs ar­gued Tara­p­ata was legally in­sane when he killed Paul Matthews, 47, and Paul Fan­ning, 69, who were eat­ing noo­dles in the lunch­room at Ezy Cash on Great South Road in Takanini, south Auck­land. In the space of three min­utes Fan­ning was stabbed six times around the head and chest, while Matthews was stabbed 15 times in sim­i­lar ar­eas, and also had his throat cut.

Krebs noted that Tara­p­ata told his par­ents he had shunned the New Tes­ta­ment ‘‘of love and for­give­ness’’ in favour of the ‘‘fire and brim­stone’’ Old Tes­ta­ment, and ‘‘did not ac­cept Je­sus’’.

Crown pros­e­cu­tor Richard Marchant said ‘‘delu­sional jeal­ousy’’ mo­ti­vated the stab­bings: Tara­p­ata’s part­ner of seven years Cassie said Tara­p­ata be­lieved she was sex­u­ally in­volved with one or both of the vic­tims.

Cassie tes­ti­fied she had never been sex­u­ally in­volved with ei­ther Fan­ning or Matthews.

But ‘‘Zarn said that God had told him me and his friend were sleep­ing to­gether,’’ she told the court on Thurs­day.

Cassie said her part­ner’s ’’para­noia and changes in be­hav­iour’’ had led her to sus­pect he was suf­fer­ing from a men­tal ill­ness be­fore the stab­bings. She said he had be­come in­creas­ingly fix­ated with read­ing his bi­ble: ‘‘I know for a fact that ev­ery­thing Zarn read in the bi­ble he be­lieved was true,’’ she said.

The trial, which is on­go­ing, be­gan at the High Court in Auck­land last Thurs­day morn­ing be­fore Jus­tice Simon Moore, with a jury of three men and nine women. Tara­p­ata has pleaded not guilty to the mur­ders.

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