'Wannabe gangsters' blamed in knifing

AARON LEAMAN
Last updated 05:00 26/06/2012

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Young "wannabe gangsters" are being blamed for a fiery clash between two families which ended with one Taumarunui teen stabbed in the chest.

Five people appeared in Hamilton and Taumarunui district courts yesterday on a raft of charges relating to Saturday's violent skirmish. Police are continuing to investigate the brawl and are not ruling out further arrests.

Daryl Lee Paul, 18, was yesterday bailed with no plea after he appeared in court charged with wounding 18-year-old Dillon Fankhauser.

Warrick Wi, 17, was also bailed after entering no plea to a charge of aggravated burglary. Both teenagers will reappear in court next month.

Police allege Paul used a large boning knife to stab Mr Fankhauser after members from a rival family turned up at Paul's house and a fight broke out.

It is alleged Mr Fankhauser and others went to the Taupo Rd house about 1.30pm, following a spat with the house's occupants at the Taumarunui Netball Centre.

Ruapehu police area commander Inspector Steve Mastrovich earlier said two men from opposing families exchanged words at a children's netball game, with one calling the other a nark and threatening to kill him.

Mr Mastrovich said the conflict between the two families started in 2009 when a similar altercation flared up, also at the town's netball courts.

But acting Senior Sergeant Grant Alabaster told the Waikato Times the netball courts were incidental to the feud.

"The courts have nothing to do with what occurred; it just so happened these people were at the netball and came across each other," Mr Alabaster said.

"On Saturday morning the courts are a very busy area with everything from junior to senior netball."

Mr Alabaster said the violent clash was not gang related, adding it was difficult to know when tensions were going to flare between the two groups. "If they are going to behave like this, they can expect police attention."

A Taupo Rd resident, who did not want to be named, saw the two groups "screaming and yelling" outside the house moments before police arrived.

He only learned of the stabbing the next day. The man said he wasn't aware of any family feud in the township and described Taupo Rd as peaceful "apart from a few homes".

"Unfortunately things like this happen in Taumarunui. I've really noticed the place change in the last three years. You see these wannabe gangsters, like the ones across the road, who go around thinking they're tough and dressed in red or blue."

The man worked with the mother of one of the arrested teens and said she was anxious to get to Hamilton for her son's court appearance.

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During the skirmish, bottles and wood were allegedly thrown at the house, and one front window was boarded up yesterday.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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