Woman thought she had ‘killed someone’

August 29, 2017 | By More

A woman fled a Linwood Park after stabbing a man in the neck in an argument over tobacco, and told some people she met that she thought she had killed someone.

The passers-by took her to the police station and the stabbing victim was taken to hospital for surgery for a wound that missed his jugular vein by 1mm.

Ribena Aratangi, 32, has a history of underlying psychiatric illness – schizo-affective disorder and limitations on her intellectual functioning.

In court at her Christchurch District Court sentencing, she said: “I’m sick. I don’t know what I’m doing. Sorry.”

Aratangi was jailed for 20 months by Judge Brian Callaghan who gave her a first strike warning after she had admitted causing grievous bodily harm with reckless disregard for the man’s safety.

Defence counsel Glenn Dixon pressed for the sentencing to go ahead even though no probation report had been prepared while she was held in custody on remand. The court was told she wanted the sentencing resolved rather than remanded because she had found the process “difficult and stressful”.

The probation officer in court suggested post-release conditions that could be imposed, and asked for the three psychiatric reports prepared on Aratangi to be made available to help with management of her sentence.

Judge Callaghan ordered that she must undertake treatment as directed for drug and alcohol abuse, psychiatric issues, and violence, after her sentence is completed.

He ruled out home detention because it was not appropriate and it was “not a sufficient response to this offending”.

A psychiatric hearing under the Criminal Procedures (Mentally Impaired Persons) Act has been held, which established that she was fit to stand trial, and she then pleaded guilty.

The reports established that she had long held feelings of loneliness, social isolation, and abandonment and sought attachments with other vulnerable adults who were dealing with their own issues. She showed anti-social personality traits which led to her disregarding and violating the rights of others.

About 3.45pm on March 4, she was smoking and drinking with a man in a park in Stanmore Road when there was an argument over tobacco.

Aratangi smashed an empty bottle and used it to stab the man several times in the neck, missing his jugular vein by 1mm. She fled the scene but told some passers-by she thought she had killed somebody, and they delivered her to the police station.

The victim’s report to the court said his injuries had healed but it had taken a long time. He was having anxiety attacks and counselling.

Judge Callaghan said he made allowance in the his sentencing for Aratangi’s mental functioning generally, and her intellectual deficits.

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