Child was at scene of fatal stabbing

By, Katee Shanks

A 9-year-old child was among those police say were at the scene of a fatal stabbing in Kawerau.

A 23-year-old Kawerau man was killed when he was stabbed in the neck on Thursday night, a wound which Detective Inspector Tim Anderson described as unsurvivable.

The victim and the man accused of the stabbing - a 31-year-old who has name suppression - were known to each other, police said.

"The nature of the injury to the man's neck meant it was fatal at the time," Mr Anderson said.

"Paramedics were called but couldn't do anything to save the man."

A post mortem was expected to be completed by today.

Speaking in front of the Holyoake Cres house where the stabbing took place, Mr Anderson said police were alerted to the incident after someone at the house made a 111 call requesting an ambulance. Ambulance staff then contacted police.

When police arrived, they found a 9-year-old child and three adults, including one woman and two men, at the scene.

"One of the men was deceased with fatal injuries to his neck. A formal identification of the man is yet to be established," Mr Anderson said.

He said the child was helping police with their investigations.

"We believe the child was close to the scene of the fatal incident and we are speaking with that child as part of our investigation.

"We are also talking to the female witness to the assault and to wider family members."

Mr Anderson said the victim and the alleged offender were known to each other but would not comment further on the relationship between them as the matter was before the courts.

"Everyone involved is co-operating with police which makes the investigation easier."

Since the stabbing, tributes have been flooding in for the victim on Facebook.

Some of the comments have included "a parents worst nightmare knowinq or findinq out there child has past away, il neva wanu wish that on my worst enemy, my hart gose out to the family, rest in paradise bro", "lovee goes to all ... fams rest eazy bro", "sending our aroha bak 2 kawerau for the loss ... xo" and "My condolences go to his family. Rest in peace".

Yesterday, a forensic investigation was under way and police expected it to be completed today.

The 31-year-old man accused of the stabbing appeared in the Whakatane District Court yesterday charged with assault.

The unemployed Kawerau man stood in the dock wearing a white hospital gown and on crutches, keeping his eyes towards the ground during his appearance.

He was remanded in custody to reappear in the Whakatane District Court next Wednesday, when he was likely to face more serious charges.

Two men were in court to support the accused.

The court suppressed the name of the victim and the accused.

Meanwhile, shortly after the stabbing happened, neighbours gathered in the street to find out what had happened.

Neighbours told The Daily Post at the time they were not aware anything had happened until a police car going "a rapid rate of knots" rushed down the quiet street followed shortly after by an ambulance.

A resident of Holyoake Cres said he had heard screaming not long before police showed up.

Apart from several police cars lining the dark street, the area was deserted and quiet.

While The Daily Post was at the scene on Thursday night, a woman arrived at the home and became distraught after speaking briefly with police.

Other friends and family were also gathering outside the address after the fatality.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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