18 Aug 2014

Guilty verdict in throat-cutting trial

8:05 pm on 18 August 2014

A man who used a 20cm-long serrated kitchen knife to cut one woman's throat and who attacked another with a claw hammer has been found guilty of attempted murder.

Ruka Hemopo, 48, was also found guilty of one count of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm after a jury trial before Justice Kos in the High Court at Wellington.

The charges arose from an incident in May last year in which two women were attacked in a Porirua house.

Crown Prosecutor Grant Burston had told a jury of eight women and four men Hemopo hit the two women, whose names were suppressed, around the head and body before attacking one of them with a claw hammer.

That woman suffered a large wound on her right arm, along with fractures to her arm and shoulder blade and a spinal injury.

Mr Burston said Hemopo then used a 20cm-long kitchen knife with a serrated blade to slit the other woman's throat, before cutting his own throat.

Hemopo had claimed the women were not telling the truth.

The jury deliberated for just over three hours before returning with its verdicts. It acquitted him on two charges of threatening to kill the women.

Hemopo, who also got a three strikes warning, will be sentenced in October.

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