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Will insanity be a defence? Man charged with murder after stabbing in Whanganui

accused-of-whanganui-murder
RNZ Photo

Report from RNZ
A judge has asked for a psychiatric report to be prepared on a 36-year-old man accused of murder during the stabbing rampage in Whanganui yesterday.

One person died and five others were injured during the incident at a property on Wicksteed Street and the neighbouring New World supermarket carpark.

Richard Leith, counsel for the defendant, told the court his client had mental health issues and was on medication. Mr Leith applied for a section 38 to ascertain whether insanity was available as a defence and whether his client was fit to plead or stand trial.

Judge Chris Sygrove approved the application and remanded the man in custody. He granted the man interim name suppression and ordered him to reappear on 11 February.

The accused, who appeared in a full-length smock of a heavy quilted material, stared at the ground throughout his brief appearance. Media were ordered to pixelate images of the man because of his mental health issues.

blood-on-road-in-whanganui
Blood on the road after the stabbings. RNZ photo.

News from NZ Police
A 36-year-old man will appear in the Whanganui District Court this afternoon facing a charge of murder and five charges of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm. These charges have been laid after stabbings on Wicksteed Street yesterday afternoon in which one person was killed and five people were seriously injured.

Police and members of the public provided first aid and support to the victims. Their actions, in the most challenging of circumstances, played a major role in ensuring the wellbeing of those who were injured.

The 36-year-old man was taken into custody shortly after.

The five victims were admitted to Whanganui Hospital last night with injuries ranging from moderate to serious. One person has since been discharged.

Police reassure residents that we are not looking for anyone else in relation to this matter. We are absolutely committed to ensuring that the people of Whanganui are safe and feel safe and can assure the community there is no ongoing risk to the public.

Report from RNZ – January 22
Five people were injured in a stabbing incident in Whanganui this afternoon. A St John spokesperson said the five people had been taken to Whanganui Hospital. Two are in a critical condition. Three are in a serious condition.

Multiple police cars flocked to Wicksteed Street about 4.15pm after reports of stabbings. Witnesses said people with stab wounds were in the parking lot of the New World supermarket. A large cordon was set up and police appeared to be focusing on one house.

Horrified shoppers saw a woman with several stab wounds collapse on the ground. Hayley Curtis said the incident was “pretty full on” to see.

“We were heading to the supermarket and a lady approached my and several other cars after running out on Wicksteed Street (opposite the New World carpark) with a man almost calmly walking behind her in ripped clothes with a knife,” Ms Curtis told RNZ. “She screamed for help and yelled that he had a knife and was stabbing people. She was stabbed several times and covered in blood. Several others in different directions also appeared to be injured.

“One man was holding his neck which was bleeding and another lady was in the New World carpark also bleeding from her head.

“We called the police and they were quick to show and the offender seemed to cooperate, dropping to the ground when they arrived. The lady that was screaming to help had now collapsed but ambos were starting to arrive. The offender was still outside the house in cuffs when I left with police around.”

Earlier report from Wellington.Scoop
Multiple people have been injured by stabbing in Whanganui, according to the police. The incident was on Wicksteed Street. It was reported at about 4.15pm. One person has been taken into custody.

The Wanganui Chronicle reports:

A worker from Te Oranganui said nurses and a doctor ran to the aid of the victims.

“When I got there, there was one lying on the ground. It was a big girl. She’d been stabbed, it was bad.”

The worker said two other people who had been stabbed were walking around.

“He was holding his neck and blood was pouring out. On his back, you could see where he’d been cut. There was another lying down, she wasn’t moving. She was an older lady.”

The worker believed the stabbing victims were members of one family.

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