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17 Apr 2024

Auckland's Sandringham dairy stabbing: Solicitor-general grants stay for terminally ill defendant

10:28 am on 17 April 2024

By Catrin Owen of Stuff

Flowers laid in memory of Janak Patel

Dozens of flowers and keepsakes were left in front of the Rose Cottage Superette after Janak Patel's fatal stabbing. Photo: RNZ / Marika Khabazi

One of the men charged as being a party to Auckland dairy worker Janak Patel's murder has been granted a stay in proceedings as he is terminally ill.

On Wednesday, Justice Graham Lang said the court had received notice from the solicitor-general staying the proceeding for Henry Fred.

The solicitor-general may, at any time after a person has been charged with an offence and before judgment is given, direct that the proceedings be stayed.

A stay in proceedings is a ruling by the court, stopping further proceedings in a trial.

Janak Patel was looking after the Sandringham dairy when he was fatally stabbed.

Last month, Frederick Hobson pleaded guilty to Patel's murder. Patel's sister told Stuff no family should have to suffer like they did.

On the evening of 23 November 2022, Patel and his wife were working at the Rose Cottage Superette in Sandringham, central Auckland.

Court documents released to Stuff say there was a plan for Hobson to enter the shop armed with a knife to take the cash from the till and any other items he could manage.

At 7.55pm, Hobson, holding a brown paper bag, entered a telephone booth outside the dairy. He pretended to be on the phone while vehicles and members of the public passed the dairy.

Hobson then pulled a black bandana up to cover up the bottom half of his face and ran into the dairy holding a knife and a brown paper bag.

He ran behind the counter, forcing his way through two closed wooden panels and approached the till.

Patel's wife saw Hobson and ran through a back door to escape. Patel stepped out of that room and was confronted with Hobson holding the knife.

Funeral programme for Janak Patel who was killed while working at Rose Cottage Superette in Sandringham following a robbery.

Funeral programme for Janak Patel who was killed while working at Rose Cottage Superette in Sandringham following a robbery. Photo: RNZ / Rayssa Almeida

Patel retreated as Hobson picked up a cash register and grabbed a number of items from the immediate area.

He left the dairy and walked in a "calm and casual" manner towards Duncan Ave.

Patel grabbed a hockey stick and ran after Hobson.

About 150m from the dairy, Hobson put the cash register into a wheelie bin, but heard Patel coming behind him.

Hobson picked up a large tree branch and aggressively advance towards Patel, holding the knife and the tree branch.

Patel retreated and swung the hockey stick.

Hobson waited for Patel to swing the hockey stick again, dropped the tree branch and lunged towards Patel with a knife, pushing him onto the ground on his back.

Hobson leant over, held Patel down and stabbed him three times in quick succession.

He then attempted to wrench the hockey stick from Patel's grasp, but Patel managed to get onto his feet.

Hobson then stabbed Patel a further three times, the final blow was to his neck.

At this point, Patel moved around the wheelie bin in an attempt to get away, but Hobson attempted to stab him again.

Patel collapsed after taking five steps towards the dairy. He was bleeding profusely from his various stab wounds and died a short time later. The fatal wounds included the left-hand side of his chest and the other to his back.

Meanwhile, Hobson collected the wheelie bin and continued walking casually along the road.

He retrieved the cash register and left the wheelie bin on the pavement before changing his clothes and getting into a car.

The death of Patel rocked the Sandringham community. Dozens of flowers and keepsakes were left in front of the Rose Cottage Superette.

* This article was originally published by Stuff.

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