5 Sep 2013

Homeless man fatally stabbed - police

9:43 pm on 5 September 2013

Police say a homeless man who died after being attacked in a central Auckland park was stabbed.

Steven Harris, 54, was attacked in Myers Park about 11.30pm on Wednesday. Police say passers-by tried to help him but he died in hospital as doctors attempted to save him.

Steve Harris.

Steve Harris. Photo: NZ POLICE

Police say he died from a stab wound to his upper body but they haven't yet found a weapon.

Acting Detective Inspector John Sutton says tests are being carried out on Thursday night to detect blood in a specific area beneath an overbridge. Mr Sutton says the aim of the tests is to pinpoint the scene of the attack and find any evidence that's not obvious to the naked eye.

Mr Sutton says officers are still anxious to hear from anyone who may have seen a man wearing a cream top and dark trousers, who was seen leaving the park at the time of the attack. They are also reviewing a range of CCTV footage.

Mr Sutton says Mr Harris had been sleeping rough in the city but was staying with a friend for the past month.

He told Checkpoint it's too early in the investigation to know what the motive was or what weapon was used.

The scene at Myers Park

The scene at Myers Park. Photo: RNZ

Two similar killings in a month

A social agency says the killing of a second homeless person in a month in Auckland is a tragic reminder of the severity of homelessness.

Last month, Edwin Linder, who was 42 and also homeless, died in hospital after he was found beaten and unconscious in Mills Lane in central Auckland.

Lifewise assists people who are living on the streets and its spokesperson Correy Haddock says it's an absolute tragedy.

Mr Haddock says the homeless community is one of the most vulnerable and the death reinforces that it's a growing problem.

He says action is needed on all levels to address the problem.

Auckland city missioner Diane Robertson says both Mr Linder and Mr Harris were known to Auckland City Mission.

"Rough sleepers are extremely vulnerable to other people attacking them; to being in places that are unsafe."

Police say the two deaths are not connected.