Spade blows self defence, court told

TRACEY CHATTERTON
Last updated 16:21 19/02/2013

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A Napier man claims he was defending himself when he twice hit his partner with a spade, fracturing her skull.

Andrew Tauira Whatarau had to retreat inside his Maraenui home because his partner was smashing windows with a tree branch and threatening to "get him", his lawyer told the Napier District Court today.

Scott Jefferson said his client, Whatarau, picked up a spade to block blows from his partner who was in a "jealous rage" because she believed he had been unfaithful.

"She was swinging it [the branch] at him, chasing him down his driveway, forcing him to retreat inside the house. She was shouting 'I'm going to get you and when I do, I'm going to smash you'."

Whatarau is defending a charge of causing grievous bodily harm with intent.

He admitted to police that he hit his partner with a spade, but claimed he was defending himself.

Neighbours were woken by the couple's arguing and rang the police in the early hours of April 22 last year.

The woman was rushed to Hawke's Bay Hospital with a six-centimetre wound to the back of her head. She also suffered a fractured skull and bleeding to the brain.

The couple had started arguing earlier in the night while drinking at a party. They returned home and continued arguing.

Crown prosecutor Nicola Graham said the woman became angry when Whatarau locked her out of their house, so she picked up a tree branch and started smashing windows.

Whatarau responded by grabbing a spade, running outside and hitting her in the back of the head, twice.

Mrs Graham said Whatarau went back inside and left the woman lying in a pool of blood.

"It was the actions of an angry and callous man who did not care about her well being."

Mrs Graham rubbished claims that Whatarau was defending himself.

"If it was a tussle they would both have bruises," she said.

"He went too far and he doesn't have a defence to this charge."

The judge will sum up the case tomorrow.

Contact Tracey Chatterton
Hawke's Bay reporter
Email: tracey.chatterton@dompost.co.nz
Twitter: @trackchatt

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