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36-year-old charged over Whanganui stabbing

Author
Newstalk ZB, NZ Herald,
Section
Audio,
Publish Date
Wednesday, 23 January 2019, 5:27p.m.
The 36-year-old facing a murder charge appeared in Whanganui District Court on Wednesday afternoon. (Photo/ Lewis Gardner)

LISTEN TO WHANGNAUI CHRONICLE REPORTER JESSE KING TALK WITH MIKE YARDLEY ABOVE

The 36-year-old man charged with murder following the stabbing incident in Whanganui on Tuesday has appeared in Whanganui District Court and granted interim name suppression.

One person died and five others were injured following the incident in Wicksteed St in central Whanganui just after 4pm on Tuesday.

The man also faces five charges of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

His lawyer Richard Leith said his client didn't oppose media applications to be photographed but he requested that any images be pixelated.

"There are some mental health issues I would like explored sir," Leith said.

"I am aware that he does currently receive treatment. There are some background issues that definitely need exploring."

The man was remanded in custody to appear in the High Court on February 11.

Judge Chris Sygrove ordered a psychiatric report to investigate the sanity of the man.

Whanganui Chronicle reporter Jesse King told Mike Yardley that the community is in shock. 

"Most of the passerbys and residents in the area that I've spoken to have all echoed the sentiment that they never expected something like this to happen down the street."

King says that two of the people that were stabbed have been discharged, while the other three remain in a stable condition.

Whanganui Police area commander, Inspector Nigel Allen,speaks to reporters about stabbing on Wicksteed St. Photo/ Lewis Gardner

Whanganui Police area commander, Inspector Nigel Allen,speaks to reporters about stabbing on Wicksteed St. Photo/ Lewis Gardner

Speaking to media on Wednesday afternoon Whanganui Police area commander Nigel Allen said it had been a "traumatic incident for all involved".

"Along with victim support we're working hard to support the victims, their whānau and our staff," he said.

"We acknowledge this incident has the potential to be unsettling for our community and I want to reassure the residents that we are not looking for anyone else in relation to this matter.

"We are absolutely committed to ensuring that people in Whanganui are safe and feel safe and I can assure the community there is no ongoing risk to the public as a result of this incident."

Allan said because the matter was before the court he would not comment further on the incident or charges.

He said the incident "was dynamic to say the least".

Our staff who attended had a lot to deal with in a short space of time," Allan said. 

"We absolutely appreciate the support of the public, particularly staff from Te Oranganui and staff from the medical centre there who've helped the victims.

"Not being there, but listening to the event [I'm] extraordinarily proud of our staff and how they managed their role there. Difficult scene, obviously you know where it is, it's a public place, so we got control of that scene and provided assistance to the victims as soon as we practically could."

Whanganui mayor Hamish McDouall said the incident was "a tragedy".

"[It] reinforces tired old hackneyed tropes about Whanganui, which as everybody who lives here knows aren't correct," he said.

"Nevertheless it's obviously an immense tragedy for the individuals."

Three of the five injured remain in a stable condition in Whanganui Hospital while two others have since been discharged.

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