Thief admits bar stabbing

By Anna Ferrick

The Napier sports bar outside which a man stabbed an employee who was attempting to take the weekend's takings to the bank. Photo / Glenn Taylor
The Napier sports bar outside which a man stabbed an employee who was attempting to take the weekend's takings to the bank. Photo / Glenn Taylor

A man has admitted to the robbery, carjacking and stabbing of a sports bar employee who was attacked as she attempted to leave the business with the weekend's earnings.

Justin Tipuna Poi, 36, appeared in Napier District Court yesterday where he pleaded guilty to charges of threatening to kill, robbery, wounding and taking the vehicle belonging to the victim.

The 62-year-old victim, an employee at Legends Sports Cafe in Napier, was attacked as she attempted to leave with the weekend's takings.

A spokesperson for the bar told Hawke's Bay Today the 62-year-old woman was still employed at the business and was a "magnificent employee".

"She has healed fantastically, both physically and mentally.

"She was most upset about the fact she was stabbed with no need, he had already pulled her out of the car, she was complying with the demands. She'd stepped out of the way, there was just no need. That's the most infuriating part of the incident."

The spokesperson, who did not want to be named, said security procedures were reviewed the next day and were immediately changed.

A police summary said Poi was a regular customer at the sports bar and had observed the banking ritual which took place every Monday afternoon.

On April 29 he planned to rob the victim as she left with the money and parked his van directly outside the bar about 11.30am. Poi waited while his co-accused watched through the bushes. He put on clothes to disguise himself, and armed with a paring knife waited for the victim to arrive in her car.

The Crown said he was then dropped off by his co-accused, Louisa Tuhuamohitaka, to wait for the victim who pulled up about 3pm and parked directly beside the van.

When the victim emerged with the takings and got into her car he pulled the driver's door open and yelled at her to get out or he would kill her.

The knife was concealed in Poi's clothing but he pointed it at the victim, leading her to believe he was hiding a firearm.

Poi then pulled her out of the vehicle and pulled her into his body whilst holding the knife, wounding her in the lower stomach.

Poi took off in the victim's vehicle with the cash still inside it and drove into a secluded area of the Pak'nSave carpark nearby.

Once there he placed the two cash deposit bags totalling $21,595, the victim's handbag, and items of his own clothing into a plastic rubbish bag.

He left but attracted the attention of a patrolling officer who followed him and stopped him outside an address on Te Awa Avenue.

Poi sped off when the officer got out to speak to him.

A short car chase ensued where Poi reached speeds of about 150km/h before crashing near the Maraenui Golf Course into a fence and another vehicle.

He was taken to hospital and treated for a fractured hip as a result of the accident.

Poi admitted he was guilty of everything which happened that day but said Tuhuamohitaka had no idea of his plans. She was also due to appear in court yesterday but did not show up.

Judge Jonathan Down remanded Poi in custody until sentencing on December 19.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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