Kapiti community reeling after second death

SAM BOYER
Last updated 09:25 16/09/2012

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The 20-year-old man stabbed to death metres from the Paraparaumu police station is being mourned by the same group of friends as a teen slain nearby just five weeks ago.

Police found Sean Strongman-Lintern dead in the Kapiti Lights car park, outside the Kapiti Junction bar, about 12.40am yesterday. It is understood he had suffered a single stab wound to the heart.

Police arrived just after Strongman-Lintern had been stabbed and cleared away a crowd that had gathered around him. Detective Senior Sergeant Mike Oxnam said a suspect was arrested at the scene, although no weapon was recovered.

"Police are now seeking any information relating to a knife, or similar item, that may have been discarded in the Kapiti Lights area, or along State Highway 1 south of Paraparaumu to Pukerua Bay."

A 22-year-old man was last night charged with murder and will appear in court tomorrow.

The death comes just five weeks after another violent death in the same area, and the same group of friends are reeling from the double tragedy.

Just over a month ago, 17-year-old Izak Millanta was involved in a fight near the spot Strongman-Lintern was found dead, before he was allegedly chased by two people into an alleyway about 300 metres away, and beaten unconscious.

He died later in hospital, surrounded by family. Manawanui Stewart, of Titahi Bay, is in custody charged with manslaughter.

Last night a Facebook tribute page, similar to one posted for Millanta five weeks ago, was set up in Strongman-Lintern's honour.

Many of those who paid tribute to a friend more than a month ago are now posting messages for another. Jillian Thornton wrote: "I cant believe another young life has been tragically taken too soon . . . its time something was done to stop these idiots killing our youth . . . hugs to you all."

Kris Bryant said: "Condolences to Sean's family, a second sad occurrence to this community . . . Violence is not the answer!"

Both incidents occurred just metres from the Kapiti police station, which backs on to the Kapiti Lights car park.

The similarity of the two events has prompted concern within the community over behaviour in the area, but police insist they are doing enough to keep order.

Kapiti Mayor Jenny Rowan said the latest death was another tragedy for the region. "If young people persist in getting drunk and carrying weapons, these things will happen. This is an unbelievably tragic incident that affects not only the family of this young man, but our entire community. Today we focus on the senseless loss of another young man and the impact that has on his family."

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Kapiti-Mana police area commander Inspector John Price said it was a community problem, not just one for his officers, and community safety remained a priority.

"These two tragic deaths in the space of five weeks highlight the need to address some key drivers of crime, including alcohol, drugs and violence."

He said two sergeants and five constables had been operating out of the station at the time of the stabbing, and regular patrols were conducted.

"They were actively policing the area, as I would expect them to. I just think it's unfortunate. It's just bad luck, we have had two suspicious deaths in a short time."

- © Fairfax NZ News

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