Komene sentenced to almost a decade in jail

JULIAN RAETHEL AND AMY MAAS
Last updated 05:00 25/07/2013

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A Massey man who stabbed a war veteran in the head had a volatile upbringing ripe for creating a criminal, says his former carer.

Jacob Komene, 21, was jailed for nine years and eight months on Tuesday for stabbing war veteran Albert Chant in the head in 2012.

Komene's former teacher Jonyne Mariu-Komene housed Komene in 2008 during his time at the Te Atatu Tu Tangata Academy at Rutherford College. She says his life went haywire when he returned to live with family after being taken from them by Child, Youth and Family.

"He was doing really well until he requested to go back to them. I thought that was a bad idea.

"He was a good boy and I never thought he'd do anything like this," Mrs Mariu-Komene says.

Komene had been released from a three-year jail sentence seven weeks before the violent attack.

Since 2006 he has amassed 32 convictions for violent offending.

In 2009 he was jailed for three years for aggravated robbery.

While serving his last prison sentence he became affiliated with the Crips gang who he considers his family and encouraged his drinking and drug taking.

His latest sentencing was at the Auckland High Court on Tuesday.

On April 18, 2012 Komene jimmied open the window of Mr Chant's Glendene home and stabbed him in the face with a knife, severing a nerve and artery.

Komene escaped through the bedroom window.

The bloodied knife was located and Komene was found at a neighbouring address a short time later.

He admitted in October last year to wounding Mr Chant with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and entering a building with intent to commit a crime while armed with a knife.

An initial charge of attempted murder was dropped.

One psychologist found Komene had an IQ of 75, which is categorised as being on the cusp of mental impairment.

But Komene was ruled fit to enter a plea and to be sentenced.

Justice Andrews acknowledged on Tuesday that Komene said he was high on drugs and alcohol and attacked Chant, who uses a walking frame to help with mobility, out of fear for his own safety.

"Your offending was unacceptable and cannot be tolerated," she said.

She added that it would have been clear to Komene that his victim was vulnerable.

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- Western Leader

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