Shock guilty plea in 'Good Samaritan' murder trial

BY IAN STEWARD
Last updated 13:19 01/11/2010
Jenny Hemmings
JASON OXENHAM

IMPASSIONED PLEA: Jenny Hemmings and family members of murdered man Austin Hemmings talk to the media outside the Auckland High Court after the accused's pleads guilty.

Austin Hemmings
'GOOD SAMARITAN': Austin Hemmings.

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The wife of murdered man Austin Hemmings has called for carrying knives to be made an offence.

The man accused of murdering "Good Samaritan" Hemmings - who was killed while aiding a woman in central Auckland - made a shock change of plea this morning.

After two years of preparation work, Pauesi Leofa Brown, 47, pleaded guilty to murder shortly before the start of his trial at the High Court in Auckland this morning.

Hemmings, 44, died in Mills Lane, central Auckland, on September 25, 2008.

Speaking outside the High Court at Auckland where Brown had just pleaded guilty to Hemmings' murder, Jenny Hemmings said the Government needed to act to curb knife crime.

"New Zealand now needs to think about making the carrying of knives illegal," she said.

"Too many people are killed by the use of knives."

She said another man was killed with a knife in the Hastings area soon after her husband's death and action needed to be taken to prevent more attacks.

Brown stabbed Hemmings to death outside an Auckland office block after he intervened when he saw Brown threatening a woman.

Jenny Hemmings said it had been hard waiting two years for the court date.

"It's too long, but the court system has to do its job," Mrs Hemmings said.

"I'm thankful New Zealand is a safer place now that Mr Brown will go to jail for a long time.

"The guilty plea has saved us all two weeks of trauma."

Brown was remanded in custody to sentencing on December 10.

The Crown said Brown confronted and threatened a woman as she left the downtown Auckland office block where she worked.

He believed she was interfering in his relationship with one of her colleagues.

Hemmings intervened at the woman's request, standing between the two.

The woman was able to flee into an elevator but Hemmings was stabbed and died at the scene.

Brown also pleaded guilty to assault with a weapon in relation to the attack on the woman.

BROWN WAITED AT WOMAN'S SMOKING SPOT

A depositions hearing last year heard that on September 25, Brown waited in Mills Lane, downtown Auckland, where he knew the woman, who has name suppression, had cigarette breaks.

That afternoon, she came to have a cigarette break and was on her mobile phone when she saw Brown.

Mr Glubb said Brown at some stage came towards her and tried to corner her and in a demanding voice asked what she had been saying about him.

She tried to get to the entrance back to the lift to her work, but Brown again blocked her.

Mr Hemmings then emerged down Mills Lane, at which point the woman asked him to call police.

"At that point, Mr Hemmings said 'what's going on'," Mr Glubb said.

"The defendant said 'It's none of your business'."

Mr Glubb said Mr Hemmings then got between Brown and the woman. She then ran towards the lift which would take her back to her work.

He said Brown then ran towards her, and she saw him pull up his jersey, where she saw what she thought was a knife.

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Mr Glubb said she then saw him go back towards Mr Hemmings.

He said she saw him pull his right arm towards himself, and then "saw a fast thrust forward at Mr Hemmings".

Mr Glubb said Brown then went back towards the woman, who was getting into the lift.

He said Brown forced his way into the lift and then swung a knife at her, which she managed to avoid, before he left.

Mr Hemmings staggered to the intersection of Mills Lane and Swanson St, where he collapsed.

He received immediate medical attention but died at the scene of a stab wound, Mr Glubb said.

He said police managed to track Brown down and arrived at his place between 2am and 3am the next morning.

When police arrived Brown said he wouldn't make a statement, but he did say "how did you find me so fast," Mr Glubb said.

- with NZPA

- Stuff

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