8 Feb 2013

Former soldier who stabbed wife jailed for life

4:17 pm on 8 February 2013

A former Iraqi soldier who stabbed his wife to death in their garden shed has been given a life sentence with a minimum term of 17 years.

Najeeb Dawood, 52, had earlier admitted murdering Eman Humiz at their Wellington home in September 2011.

At the High Court in Wellington on Friday, Justice Miller acknowledged that Dawood's judgement was impaired by mental illness and depression but said his attack on his wife was brutal and planned in detail.

The court was told Dawood asked Ms Humiz into the garden shed to talk and tied one of her arms to a chair before stabbing her with a kitchen knife 55 times and then trying to kill himself.

Dawood will serve concurrent sentences for stabbing his older daughter, when she tried to save her mother, and for an earlier assault on his younger daughter.

Justice Miller said Dawood had written a letter to his son the night before the attack, outlining his intention to deface his wife before killing himself.

He said Dawood had not adjusted well to life in New Zealand since arriving in 2010, was severely depressed and had delusional jealous thoughts about his wife.

However, the judge said given the circumstances he could not give significant weight to that in sentencing.