Woman critical after man's death

LUCY TOWNEND, KELSEY FLETCHER AND LIAM HYSLOP
Last updated 10:47 08/02/2014

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A woman received stab wounds to her face and upper body while a deceased man was badly burnt in Palmerston North last night.

The woman remains in Palmerston North Hospital in a serious but non-life threatening condition following the incident at a Russell St address, Detective Senior Sergeant Craig Sheridan said.

The deceased man in aged in his late 60s and the injured woman in her mid 30s.

The address was occupied by a large family of Chinese descent, Sheridan said.

The woman underwent surgery yesterday afternoon and it was anticipated she would be in hospital for some time, Sheridan said.

The man had extensive burns to his body and it was likely to take a considerable time to formally identify him, Sheridan said.

Police have launched a scene examination of the address, Sheridan said.

"Our focus over the next 48 hours is to conduct a thorough scene examination and to locate any weapons.

"Another key focus for us is determining the series of events that led up to this tragic incident and understanding the family dynamic."

English was not the family's first language and police have sourced a translator to communicate effectively with them, Sheridan said.

"Our inquiries will take some time as we have a significant number of people to speak to."

A team of 10 officers were working on the scene today as well as conducting area inquiries and speaking to witnesses, Sheridan said.

"This has been a horrific time for the family and they are completely devastated at what has happened.

"Officers are working closely with the family and in the coming days we will formally interview them.

"We hope to hand back the property to the family as soon as possible."

Police had not been able to speak to the woman yet.

"Plans will be made to speak to her once she is in a stable condition."

There was no record of previous police attendance at the address and police were not seeking anyone else in relation to this investigation.

"We are working closely with the Coroner on this investigation and once we have a clearer picture of what has happened we will present this information to them," Sheridan said.

Last night a neighbour, Barbara Bradnock said a young couple with two sons, aged 1 and 5, lived at the house.

A set of grandparents and another adult, a brother of one of the couple, with his twin daughters, were staying with them.

The family would often deliver her mail to her front door and she described them as friendly and polite.

Bradnock heard nothing, but had been asked by police to stay inside.

''I was just putting the jug on and looked out and there was a cop with a gun.

''I'm mortified ... they were the most amazing neighbours that you could ever wish for and I feel heartbroken that anything bad has happened to them.''

Kay Wilkinson, who was walking on Russell St, said she saw man lying on the ground in a driveway.

''I just saw a glimpse of a lady sitting with [someone] lying on his stomach ... I just happened to look and thought he had been hit by a car.''

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- Fairfax Media

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