The Good Samaritan who was left fighting for her life following a bag snatch attempt says she hopes her attacker would have time to think about what he did after he was sentenced to prison.

Hendrix Hauwai, 17, was today sentenced in the North Shore District Court to four years and nine months behind bars following the September 23 incident outside an Auckland supermarket, which left mother-of-six Lucy Knight with a fractured skull and bleeding on the brain.

Ms Knight was punched in the back of the head as she tried to stop Hauwai from stealing a handbag from a Chinese woman outside Countdown at the Northcote shopping centre.

Hendrix Hauwai in court last year. Photo / Jason Oxenham
Hendrix Hauwai in court last year. Photo / Jason Oxenham

The blow sent her to the ground, fracturing her skull. She needed two operations - one to remove a piece of her skull to relieve the pressure caused by the bleeding, and a second to replace the missing bone with a titanium plate.

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Ms Knight, 43, told NZME. News Service she hoped the sentence was long enough "that he can have time to think about what he did and hopefully work on rehabilitating himself.

"It was very interesting to go and just hear more details about the case, filling in a few gaps that I have [from] not remembering the incident and learning more about the defendant [and] what he'd been up to."

She said she sympathised with the situation Hauwai was brought up in, "not particularly that it excuses anything".

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"[It] certainly is more of a reason [as to] how he could have ended up acting like he did, but [it's] not a good situation.

"I can't remember seeing him before so it was very interesting, a little bit stressful. He's such a young guy, [it's] a very sad situation and I did agree with the judge - where were his parents?

"I mean, what were they thinking?"

Hauwai was also jailed for 12 months in relation to the bag snatch attempt and two other incidents - an assault in Manurewa on September 17, and another bag snatch in East Tamaki on September 18, which the media are now able to report.

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The two bag snatch incidents, occurred while he was on bail for the Manurewa assault.

The sentences were to run concurrently, Judge Philippa Sinclair said.

The spate of attacks happened just days after Hauwai's mother abandoned him and his younger sister, Judge Sinclair said, leaving them to fend for themselves "with no food or support".

Hauwai told police and a psychiatrist that his "primary motive" in the robberies was "to obtain money to buy food for both you and your younger sister as you were starving", Judge Sinclair said.

His life had been one of "considerable parental neglect and abandonment", she said. He had no contact with his father, who lives in Rarotonga, from birth, and had been raised by his mother and step-father.

"In my view, you should not be standing alone today, your mother and father should be standing with you in the dock for your sentencing," Judge Sinclair said.


Lucy Knight had to have extensive surgery following the attack .

Ms Knight and her husband Peter Thomas were in court to watch Judge Sinclair deliver her sentence, in which she described the punch as "deliberate, powerful and gratuitous".

It was "fortunate and thankful" that Ms Knight did not die from her injuries, Judge Sinclair said.

"There was no weapon involved and the offending was not prolonged, however, you delivered a deliberate, powerful and gratuitous punch to prevent Ms Knight from intervening in a robbery you were attempting to commit," she said.

"The punch was delivered with force."

Hauwai's defence lawyer Kelly-Ann Stoikott said the teen did not have the "cognitive maturity" to understand the consequences of his actions at the time he committed them, but had since suffered "flashbacks of seeing one of his victims falling".

"[This is] a real and physical manifestation of the guilt this young man now carries with him," she said.

Police said it could not confirm if there had been any interactions between police and Child Youth and Family in relation to Hauwai and his sister, "not only for privacy reasons but also the fact that the case is still subject to an appeal period".