A woman has described to a jury the frightening moments her ex-husband of nine years allegedly tried to stab her to death after the relationship broke down.
Soafa Niumagumagu is on trial at the High Court in Auckland for stabbing Puapuaga Matamua at her workplace in Mangere Bridge on June 20, 2019, just days after the pair separated. Matamua had moved in with a new partner.
He is also accused of fatally hitting another woman – a colleague of Matamua’s who came to her aid – with his car.
Sagaia Kaisala, 32, died at the scene.
Matamua suffered stab wounds but was later discharged from hospital.
Niumagumagu has been charged with murder, attempted murder and assault with a weapon following the violent rampage.
Matamua told the courtroom she and her ex-husband had talked over the phone since the separation but not in person until June 20, 2019.
When she finished working at Oji Fibre Solutions on Mahunga Drive for the day she headed to her car, where Niumagumagu was waiting for her. The pair spoke for a few minutes before she tried to get in the driver’s seat.
“He said to me he’s going to kill me on that day,” she told the jury.
“He pulled a weapon from his pocket … I was inside the car. I tried to close [the driver’s door] but he was there.
Matamua said the weapon was like a nail or long screwdriver.
“I wanted to run away from him but he tried to hold me and push me to the car and put the nail wherever he could,” she said.
Matamua said she was calling for help and bleeding, but he kept using the weapon on her head and she tried to kick him because she said: “I know, I’m going to die that day.”
Matamua’s boss and Kaisala, a colleague from Oji Fibre Solutions, came rushing to her aid and pulled Niumagumagu off her.
“The lady who passed away is the only one that helped me that day,” Matamua said.
“She pulled me out and told me to sit on the smoking area steps and put T-shirt and rags on areas where my body was bleeding.”
Five minutes later Niumagumagu left on foot as Matamua’s boss called police, the court heard.
Niumagumagu then came speeding back into the Oji Fibre Solutions car park and everyone tried to run to safety, Matamua alleges.
“Everyone called for Sagaia to run but she can’t… and he hit her and I saw with my two eyes that happened,” said Matamua.
Kaisala looked “like paper” when Niumagumagu hit her with her car, she claims.
“It’s really sad to me because it’s the wrong person who lost her life because of me and his conversation,” said Matamua.
Then she claims Niumagumagu left in his car and she was taken to see a doctor.
The pair have a daughter who is turning 5 this year.
Before the incident
Prior to the incident, Niumagumagu had a number of conversations at his workplace about his relationship with his wife, the jury heard.
Two weeks before the incident Niumagumagu’s colleague Phillip Terepai told the courtroom he had a tearful exchange with the man. They talked about his wife leaving him and how he should focus on caring for his daughter, he said.
Another colleague of Niumagumagu, Penilope Va’a told the courtroom he had more than one conversation with him about his relationship with his wife.
“It seems like things are torn apart, things not looking well between him and his partner at the time,” he told the courtroom.
“He talk about the anger that he had, the pain he had, the good things he had done for the wife and the family and [how] it’s very, very painful.
“He used wording in Samoan language for painful thing … he never said he was going to kill someone but said he would hurt someone to finish the pain.”
“He was crying hard and I feel sorry for him … and at the end he thanked me for the advice. I tried my best to help him and that’s the end of the conversation.”
Va’a mentioned a Sapelu, a Samoan word for a large knife, the colleague said.
The trial continues.
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