February 16, 2017 10:11 am

Life in prison for burning 5 people to death

Binesh Prasad, 34, has been sentenced to life in jail for setting fire to a house which killed five people.

The victims included Prasad’s wife Uleshni Lata, his 10-year-old daughter Prisika Devi, and his father-in-law Jei Narayan.  Imrad Ali and his wife Faria Ali were tenants and also killed in the fire.

Binesh outside Suva High Court last year.  (Newswire).
Binesh outside Suva High Court last year. (Newswire).

Jotishma Neelam, a tenant, was burnt but survived the incident. A taxi parked at the residence was destroyed in the fire.

Prasad, who was a taxi driver, married Lata in 2004 and stayed at the house in Navosai Road, Narere owned by his mother-in-law, Hans Wati.  The house was divided into three flats.

High Court Judge Justice Salesi Temo said disagreements between Prasad and his wife reached a stage where a Domestic Violence Restraining Order was issued against Prasad, which prevented him from staying with or contacting his wife and daughter.

While delivering the sentence yesterday, Justice Temo said “this made the accused upset and angry” and “was the catalyst to what occurred”.

On October 15, 2015, Prasad purchased fuel from a service station in Korovou while on his way back from Tavua.  He arrived at his in-law’s house at around 11.30pm the same day.  Prasad was accompanied by Mathew Gunua, who was cleared of his involvement in the case.

Justice Temo said Prasad poured fuel around the house and called his wife.

Justice Temo said Prasad’s actions were “the height of all evil”.

The judge said Prasad “should not complain about your sentence because they are to atone for your misdeeds.”

Prasad was charged with five counts of murder, one count of arson, one count of attempted murder, and 1 count of damaging property.

He pleaded guilty to all charges on January 31 this year and was sentenced to life imprisonment on each of the murder charges, ten years on the arson charge, life imprisonment for attempted murder, and one year for damaging property.

All sentences will be served concurrently, and Prasad will spend 28 years before a pardon may be considered by the President. He has 30 days to appeal to the Court of Appeal.