Iraqi couldn't control himself when he got angry. He got angry.

William of the White Hand

Junior News Editor
Man in fatal stabbing 'had mental issues'
Last updated 05:00 03/09/2011

A former Iraqi soldier is in Wellington Hospital in a critical condition after his wife was stabbed to death in Strathmore yesterday during a domestic dispute.

One of the man's family members says Najeeb Dawood, believed to be about 50, suffered a bullet wound to the head during service for Iraq and suffered from associated "mental issues".

He had previously been arrested in New Zealand for allegedly assaulting his wife, the family member said yesterday, and police confirmed they attended "incidents of family violence" at the Raukawa St home in the past.

Wife Eman Jani Hurmiz, whom neighbours described as a friendly woman believed to be about 42, was stabbed multiple times and died in her driveway despite resuscitation attempts by emergency services, police said.

They were called to the Housing New Zealand home about 11.30am after reports of a domestic argument.

Like many neighbours, dairy owner Kiran Lala heard screaming and shouting from the home. "One of the daughters that lives across the road came running in. She was hysterical and screaming. She sat down in the doorway."

Mr Lala's wife went across to the house with a neighbour and found Mrs Hurmiz lying on the deck of the house, "soaked in blood", Mr Lala said.

"She still had a pulse, her eyes were flickering. The husband was tying a rope around his neck. It was pretty traumatic."

Police said Mr Dawood remained in Wellington Hospital's intensive care unit last night accompanied by a "police presence".

A member of his family, who would not be named, said through an interpreter that Mrs Hurmiz migrated from Iraq almost three years ago with their son and three daughters. She was a "great woman and a loving mother".

Mr Dawood followed her to New Zealand less than a year ago, and was unemployed and spoke little English.

"Back in Iraq he was shot in the head while he was in the army. He still had that thing in his head and he couldn't con-trol himself when he gets angry."

The couple had never got along and frequently argued, the family member said.

"The family had told the police clearly that this man has got mental issues, but they never did anything, never sent him to hospital or to doctors to check him out."

But acting Wellington area commander Detective Inspector Stephen Vaughan said police had acted appropriately in the past. "Indications are that police have acted entirely appropriately and professionally in the way they have approached family violence incidents at this address."

Police had not found the weapon last night. Inquiries were continuing, along with a scene examination. They were working with Interpol to notify next of kin overseas. The couple are Assyrian, a predominantly Christian minority living mostly in Iraq and Syria.