Indian immigrant killed in New Zealand road rage (Second Lead)

April 9th, 2009 - 5:07 pm ICT by IANS  

Wellington, April 9 (IANS) A 78-year-old Indian immigrant who subscribed to the principles of Mahatma Gandhi was beaten to death in a road rage incident in New Zealand, it was reported Thursday.
Patel died in Auckland Hospital Wednesday afternoon after being savagely attacked by a powerful man.

The attack Tuesday was seen by dozens of horrified school children. Patel was beaten following what witnesses described as a minor vehicle collision in suburban Mount Albert.

Family members said the victim was on his way to help at the family fruit market in Mangere when he was attacked.

Police said Bio O’Brien, 27, leapt from his BMW car and attacked Patel - first in his van and then outside - after a “very, very minor” collision about 8 a.m.

The Patel family Wednesday night paid tribute to “the father and grandfather who treasured his family above all else and subscribed to the peaceful principles of Mahatma Gandhi”, the New Zealand Herald reported Thursday.

The family - who live on neighbouring properties in Spinnaker Dr, Te Atatu - mourned his death.

“He was the head of the family, totally Indian style … looking after the sons and then the grandchildren.

“If he hadn’t been here with us we wouldn’t have been living together for the last 30 years,” his son George Patel, 53, was quoted as saying.

A fabric-cutter in India, Jasmatbhai Patel followed his sons to New Zealand in the 1970s, working till the age of 71.

“If ever you were in trouble, he would be the first person you would call. He doesn’t have to help, but he always comes,” George Patel said.

A woman who said she saw the attack from a nearby bus stop said: “It was a terrifying sight. One minute it was a verbal argument, then suddenly the victim’s chest was covered in blood and his eyes had rolled to the back of his head.

“Witnesses got out of their cars to try to help, and teachers from the nearby school came as well. I was at the bus stop directly opposite, so I saw the whole thing.”

Another witness, Adel Imran, told One News: “A van came and smashed the BMW - just a little dent - and then the big bodybuilder man pulled the van’s door and pulled him out and started pushing him.

“He tried to tell him that ‘I will pay you for this’, but he gave him quick punches.

“Heaps of people were calling the police and then the police arrived and then … we saw him handcuffed.”

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