Victim was reading in bed when stabbed

KERRY MCBRIDE
Last updated 05:00 01/07/2013

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A 21-year-old man was reading a book in bed and munching on a bag of potato chips when he was stabbed in the face and throat by an intruder who had sneaked into his home.

The man spent the weekend in hospital after being repeatedly stabbed with a kitchen knife on Friday, allegedly by a mental health patient who had escaped his minders.

It is understood the 22-year-old patient was being transported from a Mash Trust mental health provider in Karori Rd to the mental health in-patient unit at Wellington Hospital.

Capital & Coast District Health Board have launched an investigation into how the patient was able to break free.

It is alleged the patient came into the house through the back door about 11.30am and attacked the man who was reading in a bedroom at the back of the house.

The man then fled the property and was found by police about 150 metres down the road, hiding under the deck of a nearby house.

A friend of the victim, Amy Cooper, said she had just left the house when the attack happened.

"The guy came into the kitchen and because I had just left the house [he] didn't think someone had broken in. He came in through the back door and was fluffing around in the kitchen.

"What we think happened was that [he] was eating chips and the guy must have heard the rustling bag, got a knife from the kitchen drawer and just gone for it."

When Cooper came out of a university exam to find numerous messages from her boss saying something had happened, she thought it was someone playing a "morbid joke" on her.

Her flatmate, Chris Thompson, finally reached her and "yelled down the phone" that their friend had been stabbed.

She said the drive to Wellington Hospital was the most difficult one she had made as she tried to process what had happened. "The whole thing sounds like the start of a really bad joke - getting stabbed by an escaped mental patient. It just doesn't sound real."

The victim had been staying with them in Karori while he tried to find a job in Wellington after taking a gap year from his studies at Victoria University, Thompson said.

Both he and Cooper had spoken to police and their friend's father was on his way to Wellington yesterday to visit the victim in hospital.

The pair returned to the Karori flat yesterday for the first time since the incident and said seeing their home as a crime scene was a surreal experience.

"We sat outside in the car for a little while, just trying to pump ourselves up to come back in,"  Cooper said.

"There was print dust and blood everywhere. It was upsetting but more in a sad way than a scary way. It's still our home."

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Despite his injuries, their friend was in "good spirits" and was due to be discharged from Wellington Hospital last night after getting patched up, Thompson said.

"The first thing he did when he saw us was crack a joke, so he's doing pretty well really."

Police said the alleged attacker was also taken to Wellington Hospital after the incident. No charges had been laid.

- The Dominion Post

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