Blenheim court house. File photo.

Judge praises Picton stabbing victim

A 13-year-old boy had been drinking when he stabbed a Picton pensioner in her own home it has been revealed.

The boy, who admitted a charge of assault appeared in youth court after being arrested in June, has apologised to the victim for his actions.

And the 89-year-old women has been praised by the judge for her compassion and positivity.

Overseeing the hearing at Blenheim District Court last week, Judge Russell paid tribute to the victim.

“Her positivity and recovery are absolutely amazing.

“Her world was turned upside down and her physical recovery quite remarkable, but I don’t know how well she’s sleeping at night.”

The woman suffered severe stab wounds in the assault in the early hours of a Sunday morning.

She was taken to Wairau Hospital on Sunday morning and then flown to Wellington Hospital.

She has since been discharged and is home again.

Judge Russell says that at an earlier appearance in court she had been keen to ensure the attacker got the help he needed.

Accompanied in court by his mother, the boy has written letters of apology.

He is also looking at the possibility of volunteering in a bid to give back to the community.

Addressing the boy in court, Judge Russell said he was impressed with the victim’s handling of events.

“She was very compassionate and wants to make sure this never happens to anyone else ever again.

“She is just an amazing lady; a remarkable woman.”

Charged with wounding with intent and burglary, the teenager is being supported by family and Oranga Tamariki.

Following a Family Group Conference, plans have been put in place for the boy who has been remanded to home but can attend school.

A curfew is in place for the boy and there have been no breaches of bail.

The judge said he wanted to explore all avenues to understand what he [the boy] had done and mentioned the possibility of a psychiatric assessment.

Addressing the boy’s mother, Judge Russell asked her how she was feeling.

“You are living every parents’ worst nightmare. You are key in making this plan work.”

Blenheim court house. File photo.

Nurse escapes prison after credit card theft

A nurse convicted of stealing two credit cards from patients has been sentenced to six months of home detention.

Marvel Clavecilla, 46, was yesterday sentenced at Blenheim District Court to 180 days home detention, 180 days of curfew and 60 hours of community service.

The judge said it was the maximum sentence he could impose without sending Clavecilla to prison.

Clavecilla stole two credit cards, one from 90-year-old, Doris Follows, after she died on March 29 and the other from an 89-year-old Blenheim woman admitted to Wairau Hospital for three nights in May this year.

He used both cards to buy take away meals, fuel and groceries.

The woman’s son, Mike O’Donnell, had met with Clavecilla at a restorative justice meeting last month on behalf of his mother.

“I’ve been hugely impressed by the courage and graciousness shown by my mum throughout this terrible ordeal.”

He was in court yesterday to see the former Wairau Hospital nurse sentenced.

“It was a dreadful situation and a huge violation of trust. What Marvel did accelerated mum going into full time care, but I think it’s a just decision and one which will be enabling for her to move forward.”

In a letter to the court, the woman said she believed Clavecilla was genuinely sorry for what he had done.

She did not want to see his family suffer because of his actions she wrote.

“I’ve been here [in the rest home] two weeks now, and my move here was strongly influenced by the stress and fear that your offending had on my life.

“I was devastated to learn what happened to me at hospital – to get home and read the credit card statement was unbelievable.  I’d always felt safe here in Blenheim where I live.  Your actions changed that.

“I was rushed into X-ray after midnight urgently, at that time I spoke to my nurse and said I want to take my handbag with me please, she said to me not to worry … She was wrong.

“I am a very caring person  and have helped many people in my  years  gone by  … especially here in Blenheim over the last 18 years where I have worked with members of the Vanuatu community to help and support them.

For that reason I  hope Marvell you will think about the wrong you have done to me , with my health deteriorating since …and make a change to his life going forward  for his family and the future of them all.

“You are very fortunate Marvell to live in New Zealand where your sons will have wonderful opportunities to get a wonderful education and make their way in this world, like my own son has done.

“Take that opportunity with both hands and cherish it greatly.”

Marvel had resigned from his job at Wairau Hospital rather than face the sack after being charged with 32 counts of credit card theft.

The victim’s son, who praised both his mum and the other victim’s family for their courage throughout the case, says Marvel had been contrite and upset over his actions.

“The judge was really good, really thorough and went through similar cases for legal precedent. We are grateful for the time he spent on it.

“His starting point was a custodial sentence but because he [Marvel] pleaded guilty and showed remorse he was given home detention.

“He and his family have been ostracised on social media and his father, who holds a judicial role in the Philippines, had faced ostracising too.

“We do not want Marvel’s two sons to grow up taking the same path as their dad and that could be the case had he received a custodial sentence.”

Gareth Root died after his car plunged into a river at a local campground. Photo: File.

Coroner rules over cause of death

A man who drowned when his car plunged into the Opaōa River was over the legal driving limit and had taken drugs.

Gareth Root, 35, drowned after crashing his car into the river at the Top 10 Holiday Park on 29 December 2018.

A coroner has ruled that the victim’s driving was the ultimate cause of death but noted poor signage may have contributed.

In his findings, coroner David Robinson says police has identified the absence of signs or marker posts.

These could have helped highlight a sharp bend in the road running through the campground.

“While ultimately Mr Root’s death was due to the manner of his driving, there may be some merit in the camping ground considering the installation of some signage to highlight the corner,” he wrote

Toxicology testing confirmed Gareth was more than three times over the legal blood alcohol limit.

Cannabis and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) were found in his system.

Gareth and another resident at the park had been drinking together on the night he died. The father of one was helped to bed about 10.30pm.

Police later got reports of a black Hilux being driven erratically around the park.

Witnesses say they had heard “loud crashing sounds” as the vehicle hit trees, other cars, and a tent.

A driver near the park later noticed the Hilux stopped “precariously” on the riverbank.

But by the time he managed to get to the scene, the car had rolled and was underwater. The doors could not be opened.

Based on evidence at the scene, the Serious Crash Unit determined that Mr Root’s vehicle failed to negotiate a bend and left the road.