Belinda Feek is a NZ Herald reporter

Sword attack: Mother says two children saved her life

Manjit Singh awaits sentencing in the High Court in Hamilton on charges of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm. Photo / Belinda Feek
Manjit Singh awaits sentencing in the High Court in Hamilton on charges of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm. Photo / Belinda Feek

A Hamilton woman says her two children are her "saviours" after they stepped in to stop a bloody and vicious attack by her estranged husband.

In an exclusive interview, Leonie Singh told the Herald she stood and wrestled with her sword swinging, P-fuelled former husband Manjit Singh on the night of November 4 last year, before her two children Lawton, 18, and Mandeep, 14, burst into her bedroom.

As their screams failed to stop Singh's attack, Lawton ran off, grabbing an axe and hit his father on the head.

He and his sister then stood in between their mother and father, who was high on P, managing to finally stop the bloodied onslaught.

Despite blood pouring from her head, chest and arms, Leonie Singh says she was more concerned with getting Singh out of her house and making sure her children were safe before tending to any of her bloodied wounds.

Leonie Singh, who now lives in a Women's Refuge property, recalled the horrific incident after Singh was sentenced in the High Court at Hamilton today on one charge of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

He had previously faced the more serious charge of attempted murder before it was downgraded by the Crown.

"They were my saviours that night," she says.

"Without them I surely would have died. I was just lucky that they were there with me, but where else would they be, they're always with me."

At the time of the attack, Singh was being weaned back into the community after serving a five year sentence in an Auckland mental health facility for an attack in 2008 in which he strangled her so hard that the blood vessels in her eyes and skin on her face burst.

By November last year, he had served his five year term and was slowly being released back into the community, spending just one out of seven days in the Mason Clinic.

He then decided to drive to Hamilton for an unannounced visit.

After coming inside, Leonie Singh says she noticed a gun in the back of his pants but when questioned, Singh told her it was for protection as gang members were after him.

The first few hours of the visit went okay, but by 8pm - and after smoking P for a short period - Singh lost it, launching his attack and throwing his former wife on her bed before holding a gun to her head.

It was her screams that alerted the couple's children to what was going on. They screamed for him to stop.

Instead he grabbed a ceremonial sword and began slashing and stabbing her in the head, chest and arms.

After hitting him in the head, Lawton and Mandeep stood in between their mother and father and slowly walked him outside.

Singh eventually fled with the axe, sword and pistol.

Leonie Singh suffered shocking injuries which included a fractured skull and eye socket, skull and facial lacerations including a 15cm cut from the top of her head through her right eye down to her chin.

Crown prosecutor Ross Douch submitted that the case was the worst of its kind and asked Justice Mark Woolford to start his sentencing process with a 12 or 13 year term.

However, Singh's lawyer Rob Weir disagreed, stating that although it was serious it was by no means the worst.

He submitted his clients remorse was genuine and family had pulled together $2000 for an emotional harm payment.

Justice Woolford says Singh was diagnosed with delusional disorder after the couple's divorce was finalised in 2007 before subsequently being found to be a paranoid schizophrenic.

"This was an extremely violent and sustained attack on the victim causing her serious injuries ... but for your children's courage in intervening the injuries may have been even worse."

Because of Singh's ongoing mental illness, Justice Woolford ordered that Singh be detained in a mental health facility as a special patient under s34 of the Mental Health and Compulsory Treatment Act.

When questioned about the length of the jail term, Leonie Singh says she gave up on the justice system a long time ago.

"I know our court system, they always fail us. Unfortunately there's not really much we can do about it though."

- NZ Herald

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