8 May 2024

Auckland's Sandringham dairy stabbing: Third defendant pleads guilty to aggravated robbery

11:47 am on 8 May 2024

By Catrin Owen of Stuff

Shane Tane at a previous court appearance.

Shane Tane at a previous court appearance. Photo: Stuff / Chris McKeen

One of the men charged in relation to dairy worker Janak Patel's murder has pleaded guilty to aggravated robbery as family members of the slain man wiped away tears.

Auckland's Crown Solicitor Alysha McClintock said after consultation with the family of Patel, the police and the Solicitor General, it accepted a plea of guilty by Shane Tane to aggravated robbery would capture his role.

McClintock said the charge of murder would not be pursued.

Some of Patel's family were present in court on Wednesday.

Justice Timothy Brewer convicted Tane on the aggravated robbery charge and discharged the murder charge.

Tane was remanded in custody to appear for sentencing in June.

His lawyer, Ian Tucker, said his client had written a letter of apology to Patel's family.

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

Last month, Henry Fred was granted a stay of proceedings as he is terminally ill.

Flowers laid in memory of Janak Patel

Flowers laid in front of the Rose Cottage Suprette where Janak Patel was working. Photo: RNZ / Marika Khabazi

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 had been a plan to rob the dairy.

Hobson was to enter the shop armed with a knife to take the cash from the till and any other items he could manage. While Tane was set to be the lookout and to prove whatever assistance needed.

At 7.16pm, Tane conducted reconnaissance on foot along Haverstock Road before getting into a car with Fred.

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.

At 8pm, Fred eased the Honda Inspire car into a parking bay outside the dairy. As the car moved directly next to the telephone booth, Hobson waved his hands and gestured for the car to move away.

Tane then signalled to Hobson from the car.

"These signals confirmed the robbery was about to occur," the summary of facts said.

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.

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 Avenue.

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

Janak Patel. Photo: RNZ / Rayssa Almeida

Patel grabbed a hockey stick and ran after Hobson.

About 150 metres 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 story was first published by Stuff

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