16 May 2019

Woman jailed for stabbing to death woman at party

3:23 pm on 16 May 2019

A woman who took exception to music being turned up too loud at a party and who went on to brutally stab the woman who turned it up, has been sentenced to life for her murder.

Christchurch's Justice and Emergency Services Precinct

Christchurch High Court Photo: Supplied / Minister of Justice

20-year-old Katrina Epiha pleaded guilty to the murder of Alicia Nathan, aged 32 in Christchurch, in August 2017.

The High Court in Christchurch was told how Epiha was raised in a violent gang environment, was into drugs and alcohol by the age of six and in state care by seven.

Epiha got into an argument with the victim at a party in Avonhead and then went to the kitchen and picked up a knife before returning to the room and stabbing Ms Nathan in the arm and neck with enough force to enter her chest cavity.

Justice Nation described the attack as brutal and not entirely spur-of-the-moment.

He said what Epiha did was a result of her long-history of anger.

"You went to the lounge with the knife you held it in a concealed position with the blade along your arm. You ignored other party goers telling you to put the knife down.

"After you stabbed Alicia and she collapsed you stood with the knife telling other party goers not to go near her."

Justice Nation said Epiha's risk of causing harm to others was high and the only mitigating factor was her young age at the time.

Her lawyer, Simon Shamy said she took full responsibility and was remorseful.

He said what occurred was impulsive but not pre-planned.

"Driven by Ms Epiha's long and very unfortunate history and the impact of alcohol."

Crown Prosecutor Mitchell McClenaghan described Epiha's actions as extreme violence with fatal consequences.

"That night Miss Epiha became enraged over a frivolous incident."

"She armed herself with a large kitchen knife and she struck the victim twice, once to the neck and once to the arm and the victim was in a defenceless position when the fatal wounds were caused."

Her whānau presented heart-wrenching victim impact statements in court.

Her father, Paul Robinson described it as a senseless crime that has caused her family misery and sadness that will never go away.

He spoke of Alicia's little son, his mokopuna, who is now without a mother.

"You took from him her love, you took from him their dreams, aspirations, you took from him their future. You stole her life from him."

Alicia's mother, Tina Nathan said she had let her daughter down in her early life but she did love her.

She described the death of her daughter as a nightmare.

"Why, how did this all come about? I don't hate you at all because I don't know you. It is just your actions that I hate and I despise."

"My daughter, Alicia was no angel but she didn't deserve this to happen to her."

Justice Nation told Ms Nathan that her willingness to consider attending a restorative justice meeting with Epiha was brave and while she decided not to in the end, he hoped that one day it would happen as it might make it slightly easier to cope with her loss.