Detective Sergeant Ben Quinn at the site of the stabbing in Wellington’s Central Park in Brooklyn.
Obsessed with serial killers, a Wellington teenager went to a park thinking about killing someone.
Isolated, desperate and mentally unwell, he took a kitchen knife with him.
It was December 6, 2019, the day his victim had taken her beloved dog for a walk in Brooklyn’s Central Park.
He grabbed her from behind and stabbed her repeatedly.
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It was her sudden resistance, turning and kicking out at him, that got him to flee.
She was left lying on the ground with six stab wounds, to her chest, torso, shoulder and arms.
In Wellington Youth Court on Tuesday, Judge Ian Mill praised both of them – the 16-year-old for working to turn his life around, and the victim for her compassion.
Under Youth Court rules neither he nor the victim can be identified.
Judge Mill said the youth was autistic and had been bullied at school. He became isolated and obsessed with serial killers and mass shootings that he was reading about on the internet.
He said the youth had been thinking of harming himself but instead “it led to you deciding to go out and try and kill someone”.
The youth had been posting things online that had come to the attention of authorities, and was in a bad place.
Police had found his diary, which revealed his thoughts. “When I saw what was in your diary it worried me, and I know it worried others.”
Judge Mill said he now saw a very different young man to the one who first appeared in court.
He said the level of support the youth had received from professionals and his family had impressed him.
He sentenced the youth to supervision, which would continue to structure the youth’s life for six months. Among his conditions are that he is not allowed to use the internet without adult supervision.
The victim’s impact statement was read to the court in three parts: a couple of weeks after the attack, a few months later, and a recent update.
She said at first she kept wondering why it had happened to her, what had she done? “It keeps me awake at night because I don’t understand why this happened.”
By May this year she said she was no longer mad but could see what had happened written in the scars on her body. “Sometimes bad things happen and there is no satisfying explanation.”
The last part of her statement was about how she was trying to turn what happened to her into a positive.
The youth read a letter he had written but acknowledged he himself did not understand why it had happened.
“I have to say with this I can’t heal the trauma, stress and grief. I feel very guilty, regretful and disappointed and sad in myself for letting this happen.
“I have said to myself in my mind why did I have to do it. I wish I had a clear answer for myself.”
He apologised for the hurt and trauma he had caused his victim and his family.