Man skips bail after son's funeral

By COREY CHARLTON


The man featured on the front page of yesterday's Hawke's Bay Today after biting his partner's face is now on the run after he didn't return from the bail granted to attend his son's funeral.

On Tuesday, Joseph Tira Rangi pleaded guilty and was remanded in custody until next month for sentencing on a charge of wounding with intent but was granted a day release to attend the funeral of his 15-year-old son.

He was bailed into the custody of a local minister but failed to return to Hawke's Bay Regional Prison at 5pm yesterday.

Earlier that day, Rangi had pleaded guilty after a brutal assault on his partner in which he punched her, bit her and gagged her screams with her own scarf.

Police said they consider him dangerous and he should not be approached.

"We have been searching various properties in the area looking for him, including Whanganui, where he has family connections," Detective Sergeant Darren Pritchard said. "We would urge anyone who sees this man to notify police immediately and not to approach him."

Mr Pritchard could not comment on how Rangi had managed to skip bail.

The Department of Corrections would not comment on bail protocol, saying only: "The prisoner must follow the conditions specified by the judge. In this case, it was to return to the prison by a specified time."

Rangi's assault on his partner took place in Whanganui on September 11 when the couple were visiting his parents.

The 30-year-old was extremely intoxicated at the time and punched his partner at least a dozen times in the face after an argument broke out over his drinking. The attack left her with facial swelling so severe, it changed her appearance.

To stop her screaming, he also removed her scarf and stuffed it into her mouth, while at the same time blocked her nose.

Unable to overpower him and unable to breathe, she bit his finger. In retaliation, he bit her arm, then her cheek.

The bite to her face was done with such force, skin was left hanging from her face.

Rangi is described as 1.79m tall, of medium to solid build. He has short black hair, a distinctive mole on the right side of his chin and may have a short beard.

Police also have concerns for the safety of Rangi's victim, who they have not been able to contact.

Anyone with information about Rangi should contact their nearest police station immediately.

Alternatively, information can be left anonymously on Crimestoppers, 0800 555 111.

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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