25 Nov 2014

Jail for slashing woman's throat

3:23 pm on 25 November 2014

A man who slashed the throat of a pregnant woman and was shot and tasered by police has been described by a judge as "sick, rather than bad".

Ruka Hemopo, 48, was jailed for six years and six months when he appeared at the High Court in Wellington today on one charge of attempted murder and one of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

In May last year, he used a 20-centimetre knife and a claw hammer to attack two women, one of whom was 20 weeks' pregnant, at a house in Porirua.

The pregnant woman has been permanently scarred and the other woman spent two nights in hospital and still suffers pain in her elbow and shoulder as a result of the hammer attack.

In sentencing, Justice Kos said Hemopo suffered from an intermittent paranoid delusional complex, which had contributed to the offending.

"Combined with your perceptions of persecution, your disorder made you jealous and angry, and then violent. You are not a rational man making a wilful choice to offend.

"As Dr Barry Walsh points out, disorder alone does not explain your offending. Your inability to manage anger, your consumption of alcohol and your attitude to violence all contributed."

Justice Kos said Hemopo was sick, rather than bad, and hoped he would get the treatment he needed while in prison so he could be released as a decent member of the community.