Epsom double killing: Stabbed husband Herman Bangera, ‘godly man’ who volunteered at Christian organisation

An Indian father who was murdered with his wife in a stabbing at their Epsom home had once sought employment at a Christian organisation where he was a volunteer.

Herman Bangera, 60, and his wife, Elizabeth Bangera, 55, died on Friday after being discovered in the house with critical injuries.

A man who is related to the couple remains in hospital in a critical but stable condition under police guard, and will be formally interviewed by police at an appropriate time.

Pamela Brooking, former director of Child Evangelism Fellowship, who knew them well, described Herman as a “lovely man and wonderful dad” and the family as the “epitome of what family is”.

Brooking said Herman was a volunteer at the organisation for a period of time since about 2011 when it had its headquarters in Penrose.

“He was quite happy to do anything I asked him to do, whether it’d be folding, collating or filing and whatever that’s needed to be done. He was very happy to help us in any way he could,” she said.

“Herman had wanted to work for us, but that didn’t happen mainly because of finance. We were actually cutting staff at the time so we couldn’t employ him.”

Herman and his wife, who Brooking knew as Elsie, used to invite her over to their home for dinner where she also got to meet their son Sheal.

“Elsie cooked lovely curries, and she would always do special mild ones for me,” she said.

Brooking says she has been in regular contact with the couple, and the last time they spoke was on March 1.

“Through prayer and messaging, we have kept in contact. They said I could stay with them whenever I was in Auckland, but obviously that’s not going to happen now,” she said.

Brooking described Herman as a “very godly man” who “loved his son tremendously”.

She learned about the stabbing on Saturday, and when police named the couple on Sunday, Brooking said she was “in shock” and was “close to tears”.

Herman had a strong passion in reaching out to children about “Jesus being their lord and saviour”, Brooking said.

That was why he volunteered and had wanted to work for the fellowship, which is the world’s largest children’s ministry.

According to the fellowship’s website, the organisation’s concern included how modern technology was leading young people astray.

Children were growing up without any knowledge of the gospel, and were instead being won over by materialism, atheism, sects and crime.

It also said New Zealand had one of the highest teen suicide rates in the developed world and over 90 per cent had no contact with a church or Sunday school.

“Herman is a wonderful dad himself, and he was very proud of his son. I didn’t see anything negative,” she said.

“When I first met Sheal, he was leaving high school and going to university. He was always smiling when I was at the house, and they were an epitome of what a family is.”

The couple was born in Mangalore but had worked in Mumbai for a multinational company, Godrej Group, before moving to New Zealand. A friend told the Herald the couple moved for their son to have a better education and a better life.

They moved into their Epsom home in 2007 to be in zone for Auckland Grammar where Sheal attended.

“I take consolation that Herman and Elsie are with their saviour in heaven now, and there’ll be no crying up there,” Brooking added.

“But I really feel for Sheal at the moment.”

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