Man admits threatening to kill his partner

A Blenheim vineyard worker threatened to cut off his partner's head during an assault sparked by money worries.

In Blenheim District Court yesterday Saia Tatafu Mataele, 32, a vineyard worker of Blenheim, admitted threatening to kill, assaulting a female and driving with excess breath alcohol of 539mcg (legal limit 400mcg).

He was sentenced to six months' supervision to complete alcohol and drug counselling and a stopping violence programme, 180 hours' community work, disqualified from driving for six months and ordered to pay his victim $750 for emotional harm.

Judge Richard Russell issued a protection order for the victim and the couple's five-month-old baby. A charge of injuring with intent to injure was withdrawn.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Mark Lucas said Mataele had been on a night out drinking before the argument with his partner at their home about 12.30am on September 28.

Mataele then told the victim he had a knife and asked "Do you want me to end your life now?", Mr Lucas said.

When the victim tried to phone the police Mataele attacked her, punching her in the face, head and body, before pulling her head back and punching her in the mouth, he said.

The victim screamed for help and Mataele swore at her and threatened to cut her head off, he said.

After the assault Mataele made the victim change out of her blood-stained clothes and drove her to Wairau Hospital, where police breath tested and arrested him, Mr Lucas said.

When questioned by police, Mataele said he worked too hard and his partner spent all the money.

Defence lawyer John Holdaway said it was the first time Mataele had been in court and he was extremely sorry for his drunken rage caused by stress over money worries.

Judge Russell said the attack was "simply dreadful" and being drunk was no excuse.

The victim had to leave her home after the attack, might be left with permanent scars from the assault and the relationship was over, he said.

Mataele would have faced more serious punishment if it hadn't been his first appearance in court, Judge Russell said.

The Marlborough Express