Auckland man who slit girl's throat with fish-filleting knife named

Jordan Lane Jordan Lane | 06-11 08:20

An Auckland man who slit a young female relative's throat with a fish filleting knife in 2022 can now be named.

He is Rajesh Kumar, 52, of Auckland's Rosehill.

His name suppression lapsed this morning without opposition from defence lawyer Kelly-Ann Stoikoff.

Kumar pleaded guilty to attempted murder in May — and also admitted to kidnapping after an earlier incident involving another family member, a 43-year-old woman.

He had previously pleaded not guilty to the two charges — as well as a third charge, of wounding with reckless disregard for the safety of another. That charge was withdrawn in May.

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Kumar was back at the High Court in Auckland today, sitting in the dock with two guards and a Hindi interpreter.

Justice Geoffrey Venning sentenced Kumar to 10-and-a-half years in prison.

That's comprised of nine years for the attempted murder and one-and-a-half years for the kidnapping, to be served cumulatively.

The minimum non-parole period is six years, for the attempted murder.

"Their lives will never be the same as a result of your actions," Venning said, referring to the victims.

Family members sat in the public gallery and watched as Kumar quietly listened to the decision.

Venning noted the "savage" attack must have come "completely as a surprise" to the attempted murder victim, especially considering Kumar was standing behind her when it happened.

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"She should have been entitled to feel safe in her own home."

The court heard Kumar had not held a valid visa for some time, and was likely to be deported after serving his sentence. He moved to New Zealand from Fiji around 2005.

'I've got a knife here, get in the car'

The kidnapping charge relates to an incident on November 24, 2022. Kumar had a deteriorating relationship with the kidnapping victim.

That day, the woman wanted to leave the house in Auckland's Rosehill. She distracted him, changed clothes and left, according to the agreed summary of facts released to media.

But he saw her as she was leaving. He tried to stop her by grabbing at her and pulling her by the dress, the summary said.

"[The woman] yelled at the defendant, resulting in him putting his hand over his mouth". She bit his finger and he let go.

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She walked away – but he followed her in a silver Holden, calling for her to get in. Eventually Kumar stopped and ran to confront her.

He had a knife: "He pulled the knife partially out of his pocket, showing [her] he was armed.

"He told her, 'I've got a knife here, get in the car before I stab you'," the summary said.

Once she was in, Kumar called another family member to say the woman was with him and the pair "needed to sort out their issues" – but the woman screamed in the background, saying Kumar had a knife.

He then "detained her against her will for several hours", driving to various locations near Coromandel. He had the knife the whole time and "at one point stabbed himself in his leg", the summary said.

"I wouldn't have done this if you listened to me," he told the woman, urging her to keep quiet or "he could do something crazy" as she begged him to take her home – which eventually, he did.

They met with a third person in Papakura and the situation de-escalated, with the group agreeing to keep the incident between them.

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Attempted murder

Barely a week later, Kumar was drinking at home. Family members, including the two complainants, were in the house.

At about 3am on December 4, he went into a young female relative's room.

"He woke her by nudging her and motioned for her to follow him," the summary said.

"[She] got out of bed and did as she was told, having no understanding of what was to follow."

He led her to the garage and told her to sit down. He confronted her, the summary said.

When she tried to stand up and leave the room, he told her to sit back down.

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"The defendant was carrying a fish-filleting knife with a black handle," the summary said.

"The handle was about 10cm in length, and the blade was about 15cm.

Where to get help for domestic violence. (Source: 1News)

"Without speaking further, the defendant walked behind [the girl] and stood behind her while she was sitting on the seat facing away from him. He grabbed [her] by her hair, and puller her head backwards, raising her chin and exposing her throat and neck.

"The defendant then used the knife to slit [her throat]."

The girl screamed and fell to the floor, bleeding heavily, the summary said. Kumar "aggressively" pushed her head down and put his fingers in her mouth to stop the screaming, the summary added.

Other people in the house heard the noise and woke up. One rushed in and pulled Kumar away from the girl.

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He then headed through the house to where the kidnapping victim was sleeping.

"The defendant said, 'I'm going to end her life also', in reference to [the woman]."

But two family members managed to restrain Kumar and disarm him before he ran from the house, got into a vehicle and fled.

More on this topic

Auckland man admits slitting girl's throat with fish-filleting knife

Wed, May 1

The girl underwent emergency surgery at Middlemore Hospital that day and survived.

Kumar was found at an address near Thames, wearing blood-stained clothes, and arrested without incident.

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