Guilty verdict over spade attack

TRACEY CHATTERTON
Last updated 15:40 20/02/2013

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A jury has quashed a claim that a Napier man was defending himself when he hit his partner in the back of the head with a spade.

Andrew Tauira Whatarau, 42, has been found guilty of intentionally causing grievous bodily harm to the woman.

The jury delivered a guilty verdict today after a two day trial in the Napier District Court.

Whatarau admitted to police that he hit his partner with a spade, but claimed he was defending himself after she flew into a jealous rage.

The court heard that 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 6cm 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.

Whatarau will be sentenced in the coming weeks.

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- The Dominion Post

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