Meth use drove robber's rampage

By Imran Ali

Paihia Four Square owner Bob Patel faced an agitated man who  took a hostage in his Williams Rd shop in December, 2014.
Paihia Four Square owner Bob Patel faced an agitated man who took a hostage in his Williams Rd shop in December, 2014.

The actions of a man who sought police help twice before holding a supermarket worker at knifepoint were driven by methamphetamine use, rather than his mental health issues, a court has heard.

Hewe Taupo, 41, earlier pleaded guilty to two charges of kidnapping, two of assault with a weapon, and another of injuring with intent to injure.

He appeared for sentencing in December but it was put off to this week as Judge Greg Davis ordered a psychiatric report.

That report was made available to the court this week and it said that while Taupo suffered underlying mental health issues, his offending was primarily driven by meth use.

Judge Davis sentenced him to three years and four months in jail.

An agitated Taupo held the assistant manager at Paihia Four Square at knifepoint on December 30, 2014.

A police summary of facts said that Taupo went to the Paihia police station in an agitated state about 10.30am that day.

He asked police for assistance and while he was requested to wait in an interview room, he left through a staff entrance.

He then went to the supermarket, grabbed a male worker, forced him up the stairs into an office and requested that he and a female staff member ring Auckland police.

Taupo appeared to calm down after the call but a short time later confronted the same male worker with a carving knife, which he held against his chest and shouted: "If you don't get me help, I'm gonna kill this c***."

Taupo also approached the supermarket owner, Bob Patel, with the carving knife before grabbing a female at the checkout and placing the tip of the blade against her neck.

Police arrived but Taupo refused to release his hostage who was finally let go after about half an hour.

His lawyer Chris Muston said Taupo's actions were unplanned.

- Northern Advocate

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