Man jailed for "senseless" attempted murder

MATHEW GROCOTT
Last updated 16:35 05/11/2012

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Just a few centimetres were the distance between life and death when a Palmerston North man stabbed his partner in the throat and shoulder.

At the High Court in Palmerston North yesterday, Justice Joseph Williams said it was only through luck that Evan Mark Kendall, 50, was facing an attempted murder charge instead of murder.

Justice Williams sentenced Kendall to four years in prison for what he called a senseless and prolonged attack on his partner Caroline Wing on August 19.

Yesterday was the first time the details of the attack, which left the victim in intensive care for several days, were revealed in court.

Justice Williams said Kendall and Ms Wing were at her house when they got into an argument about ants on the bench.

During this confrontation Kendall used a knife he typically carried on him to cut up a cask of wine, spilling the contents.

‘‘You punched her twice in the head so hard, with such effect that she thinks she’s broken her nose,’’ Justice Williams said. 

‘‘Then you’re on top of her banging her head against the floor.’’

Kendall then decided to commit a murder-suicide by locking Ms Wing and himself in the house and burning it down. When Kendall became distracted trying to light the fire, Ms Wing escaped through a window.

‘‘In your rage you run out after her .th.th.  she falls over, you climb on top of her, you pull out your knife, you stab her in the neck and shoulder three times.’’

Justice Williams said it was fortunate the injuries were not fatal. Off-duty nurse Kellie Pearpoint heard Ms Wing’s cries and gave first aid.

Kendall barricaded himself in the house before calling a taxi.

He asked the driver to take him to the police station where he told police what he had done.

He pleaded guilty at a court appearance in September.

Justice Williams said he took Kendall’s early plea and his mental state into account in reducing the sentence from a starting point of seven years.

While a psychiatric report had found Kendall did not have a mental illness, there were aspects of his personality which Justice Williams said he had to take into account.

Your family background, a history of being bullied and perhaps other things have caused you to struggle to form meaningful bonds with others so that you live a life of social isolation.’’

This meant he likely lacked the ‘‘skills and resilience’’ to cope with relationships; it also made it difficult for Kendall to empathise.

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‘‘In my view, it perhaps suggests to me that you did a wicked and terrible thing but you may not be a wicked and terrible man.

A protection order was imposed to stop Kendall contacting his victim.

- Manawatu Standard

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