Jury hears man slit throat after smokes run out

Kapiti-Mana District Commander Inspector Paul Basham during a press conference at Porirua in New Zealand, after the alleged incident.
Kapiti-Mana District Commander Inspector Paul Basham during a press conference at Porirua in New Zealand, after the alleged incident. Mark Mitchell

A MAN accused of cutting a pregnant woman's throat had flipped "over the edge", in part because they were out of cigarettes, a jury has been told.

Ruka Hemopo, 48, is standing trial in the High Court at Wellington on charges including attempted murder, assault and threatening to kill.

The Crown alleges Hemopo, also known as Duane Thomas Makatea, attacked two women, whose names are suppressed, at a house in Porirua early on May 2 last year.

Crown prosecutor Grant Burston began summing up the case this morning by asking the jury to look at a photo of the woman's cut throat.

He said Hemopo had admitted causing the injury, and the woman denied cutting her own throat.

"She did not want to die that night. Mr Hemopo did - he wanted to die in that bedroom."

The Crown case is that Hemopo was upset the women and other relatives were going to a tangi without him, and they were out of cigarettes.

The woman, along with another, were sleeping on a mattress in the lounge when Hemopo entered the room and demanded cigarettes. The women said they had none.

Mr Burston said one of the women "set him off" by accusing him of always smoking all the cigarettes.

Hemopo flipped "over the edge" and went to get a hammer. He then forced both women into a kneeling position.

He said he would kill them and "none of us are leaving here".

Hemopo allegedly attacked the women and hit one of them with a hammer. That woman suffered a fractured elbow, a fractured shoulder blade, an injured spine and a cut on her arm.

She was able to escape and call police, but Hemopo allegedly took the other into a bedroom to continue the attack.

The Crown alleges he pushed her onto the bed and said: "I'm sorry, I've got to do it - I've got to kill you and I've got to kill me."

Hemopo then cut her throat with a knife before cutting his own throat. The woman fought with him and cut her hands while trying to grab the knife.

Police entered the room and, seeing Hemopo trying to stab the woman with the knife, shot and Tasered him.

An officer said the woman was "moaning like an animal". The woman grabbed an officer's leg and would not let go.

Hemopo is defending himself but lawyer Val Nisbet had been appointed as an amicus curiae (friend of the court).

He is due to sum up his defence case before Justice Steven Kos and the jury later this morning.

Topics:  courts crime editors picks justice murder

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