18 Apr 2024

Litany of police failures found after Farzana Yaqubi murdered despite stalking complaints

11:19 am on 18 April 2024
Farzana Yaqubi.

Farzana Yaqubi was a 21-year-old law student in Auckland. Photo: Facebook

A litany of police failures have been found in a report into police handling of a 21-year-old Auckland law student's complaints a man was stalking her, weeks before her murder on 19 December 2022.

The Independent Police Conduct Authority on Thursday announced it had found the police's initial assessment matrix was "not fit-for purpose" as it did not consider all lines of enquiry and the risk posed to victims like Farzana Yaqubi.

Almost eight weeks after Yaqubi first reported the matter to police, she was murdered by Kanwarpal Singh, 30.

Singh was sentenced to 17 years' jail after pleading guilty.

Yaqubi's complaint was awaiting investigation when she was killed.

The IPCA also found police "did not adequately take into account cultural and religious factors which influenced how Ms Yaqubi engaged with police, nor did they provide her with appropriate support".

"Police failed to link Ms Yaqubi's file and the file of another young girl who was also being threatened by the same man, thereby missing an opportunity to gain a fuller picture of the extent of his actions."

It said police also failed to immediately address significant matters raised in Yaqubi's statement.

The IPCA said it would not release its full report out of respect for Yaqubi's family.


  • 25 October 2022: Yaqubi first made a 105 online report to police.
  • She sent screenshots of messages from Singh, including one where he threatened to throw acid on her face, the IPCA investigation found.

    "She also provided police with other information which was sufficient for police to be able to identify the man. Yaqubi's file sat inactive for six weeks while police waited for her to come to the police station and provide a formal statement."

  • 3 December 2022: Yaqubi updated her online report.
  • She told police she was "extremely fearful the man may pose a threat to her life".

  • 6 December 2022: Yaqubi filed a formal statement at Henderson Police Station highlighting significant matters.
  • "She was told the file would be forwarded to another station near to where she had told police the man may be living. At the time of her death, the matter had not been progressed any further," the report found.

  • 19 December 2022: Yaqubi was murdered by Singh.

Police said they accepted the report's findings.

"We accept that a combination of decisions and actions taken over an eight-week period meant police missed several opportunities for earlier intervention in the complaint," Waitematā District Commander, superintendent Naila Hassan said.

"Given the concerning matters Ms Yaqubi had raised in her statement, police should have acted sooner and provided better support given the effects of the frightening behaviour she was experiencing at the time.

"For this we apologise.

"We have also met with Ms Yaqubi's family to apologise face-to-face."

Hassan said police were improving training for staff to better identify "hate-motived crime" in files they were investigating.