Police confirm identities of Epsom stabbing victims; no charges have been laid yet

Author
Lincoln Tan, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Sun, 21 Mar 2021, 3:43PM

Police confirm identities of Epsom stabbing victims; no charges have been laid yet

Author
Lincoln Tan, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Sun, 21 Mar 2021, 3:43PM

Police have revealed new details about a stabbing in Epsom, Auckland which left an Indian couple dead and one other person fighting for their life.

Detective Inspector Scott Beard, who is overseeing the homicide investigation, confirmed the incident is family harm-related at a press conference at Auckland Central Police Station at 4pm today.

The two victims are husband and wife, Elizabeth aged 55 and Herman aged 60.

A man related to them is in Auckland Hospital and he will be formally interviewed at appropriate time.

A fourth person at the scene was close family friend. He was called to the scene not long before the incident. He is in shock.

Police have spoken to next of kin.

"This is a double homicide, it is a family harm incident and it is a tragedy," Beard said. "We feel for the family and we extend our condolences."

Beard said the man in hospital is related to the family. He is still in a critical but stable condition and medical experts will advise when its appropriate to interview him. "No charges have been laid at this stage," Beard said.

"The rest of the family are struggling," Beard said. The police investigation will look into the background of all the family members.

Police have spoken to next of kin.

"This is a double homicide, it is a family harm incident and it is a tragedy," Beard said.

It follows a brutal attack at a property in The Drive in Epsom on Friday morning, which claimed the lives of Elizabeth Bangera and her husband Herman.

Meanwhile, the University of Auckland says it is "shocked and saddened" by the news one of its staff has died in the attack. 

"It has been reported that the victims of the homicide incident in Epsom on Friday morning are one of our staff members, Elizabeth Bangera, and her husband Herman," a university spokeswoman said.

Although police have not yet formally confirmed the identities of the deceased, it is the understanding of the university that the information is correct.

"We are shocked and saddened by this news. Elizabeth has been part of our University community for many years, working as a group services co-ordinator in the School of Pharmacy, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences," the spokeswoman said.

"She was a highly respected colleague and friend."

The spokeswoman said support and trauma counselling was being offered to anyone in the university who may have been affected by the incident.

A man linked to the double killing was taken from the couple's home at the corner of The Drive and Green Lane West to Auckland City Hospital with critical injuries, and remains in a critical but stable condition.

The man is under police guard and deemed to be in police custody, Beard said.

No formal charges had been laid with investigations still under way. Police earlier told the Herald they would not provide any further updates until the post mortems were concluded.

A fourth person, believed to be passerby who tried to intervene, received superficial injuries.

AUT lecturer Ranjana Gupta, whose family owned the house next door described Elizabeth as a "very good lady".

"They are Christian; they used to go to church. They were very God-fearing," Gupta said.

"They were very humble sort of people. They were very helpful as well. They used to look after our property when we're not there."

The couple immigrated to New Zealand from the Indian state of Goa and moved into the block of flats around 2007 because it was in zone for Auckland Grammar where their son attended, Gupta said.

The couple's son Sheal had recently graduated from Massey University engineering school and just started his career, the Herald understands.