Woman admits Avonhead stabbing murder

A 20-year-old woman has admitted the stabbing murder of Alicia Maree Nathan in an attack that began with an argument over music during a party at an Avonhead house.

Katrina Roma Epiha was due to begin a two-week trial in the High Court at Christchurch on Monday, but pleaded guilty today before Justice Gerald Nation.

No family or supporters for Epiha, or members of the victim’s family, were present when the unexpected guilty pleas were entered on charges of murder, and threatening to kill another woman at the same party.

The judge remanded Epiha in custody for sentencing on May 16 and called for a pre-sentence report and victim impact statements.

He told her Miss Nathan’s mother had re         quested to meet her at a restorative justice meeting before the sentencing.

The judge said: “It’s pretty impressive that she is willing to meet with you and talk to you, and I urge you to take advantage of that.”

Epiha has been in custody since her arrest for the murder of Miss Nathan, who was the mother of a three-year-old, in August 2017.

Crown prosecutor Karyn South told the court Epiha and Miss Nathan had been at a party at an Avonhead house on August 5, 2017. Epiha and visitors and associates were drinking throughout the afternoon and evening.

Miss Nathan, 32, arrived unexpectedly with another woman about 11.45pm. Epiha and Miss Nathan became involved in an argument upstairs over music.

Miss Nathan went downstairs to the lounge and there was a verbal exchange.

Miss South said: “Epiha was enraged and kicked her boyfriend who had been standing at the bottom of the stairs trying to stop the defendant attacking the victim.

“The victim stayed in the lounge while Epiha moved quickly to the kitchen. There she took a large kitchen knife from a drawer.”

She went into the lounge with the blade concealed along her arm. Some party goers told her to put the knife down, but she confronted Miss Nathan, swinging the knife at her neck.

She stabbed Miss Nathan twice, once in the left upper arm and also in the left side of the neck, with the blade penetrating deeply down into the chest cavity.

“The victim had not attacked the defendant and was shocked to have been stabbed. She collapsed on the couch. The defendant stood with the knife telling other party goers not to come near her.”

Party goers called for medical help, but Epiha told them not to call the police because the victim would be all right. The householder disarmed Epiha and she ran upstairs to get her phone and ran from the house.

Epiha saw a friend of the victim trying to flee the address after seeing her friend stabbed. She chased the woman and the pair dodged around a parked car with Epiha trying to catch her and repeatedly threatening to kill her.

Miss South said Miss Nathan bled severely internally and externally as a result of the neck wound. Police and ambulance staff arrived and carried out CPR but she died at the scene.