Levin stabbing death: Family 'living in a nightmare'

By Alecia Bailey

Mike Valentine. Photo / Facebook/Supplied
Mike Valentine. Photo / Facebook/Supplied

The family of a young Levin father stabbed to death on Friday night say the past four days have been like 'living in a nightmare'.

Michael Les Valentine was found at his property 7km north of Levin about 8.30pm on Friday. A post-mortem conducted on Sunday determined Mr Valentine had died from a single stab wound to the chest.

Two men arrested in connection with his death appeared in the Palmerston North District Court today.

In a statement released this afternoon, Mr Valentine's family said his death had left a "huge void" in their lives and they were still coming to terms with his death.

"Michael was the type of guy who could always make you smile when you were down, and he had your back no matter what. His loyalty and love for his family and friends was immense.

"We love and miss him very much."

They have thanked the public for their "messages of strength, love, and support".

Mihaylo Stoyan Militch, 31, from Levin, appeared in court today charged with murdering Mr Valentine. He is also charged with assaulting Mr Valentine using a sharpening steel as a weapon.

Michael Paul Zimmerman, 29, a Levin factory-hand, also faces a charge of assault with a weapon.

Lawyer Simon Hewson, who represents Militch, also appeared as duty solicitor for Zimmerman. He advised Judge David Smith that bail would not be sought.

Both men were remanded in custody with Militch due to appear in the Levin District Court on February 13. Zimmerman was also remanded to the Levin District Court but is due to reappear on Thursday.

"I'm anticipating some disclosure between now and that date that would allow me to assess the strength of that case and perhaps a bail application,'' he said in regards to Militch.

Mr Hewson said he has advised Zimmerman to have a lawyer present at his next appearance.

Supporters for both the victim and Militch stood outside court. Neither men spoke during their appearance.

Mr Valentine's funeral will be held in Levin on Wednesday.

- additional reporting nzherald.co.nz

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