'I need justice' - sister of dairy stabbing victim's plea to authorities

Source: 1News

The sister of the Sandringham dairy stabbing victim says her family wants justice and is urging authorities to catch the criminal who took her brother's life.

Flowers outside Sandringham's Rose Cottage Superette on Friday November 25

Dairy and Business Owners Group chairman Sunny Kaushal told 1News he had spoken to the family who wanted to speak out.

"The family is in deep shock and have requested privacy while they are in grief," Kaushal said.

The victim's sister, on behalf of the family said via a statement:

"We urge the authorities to urgently catch the criminal who has taken our brother's life and hold the murderer accountable, giving him the toughest punishment.

"I need justice for my brother," she said.

A nationwide protest is being planned following the victim's death and over $33,000 has already been raised via a Givealittle page to support his wife and elderly parents.

It comes after police were called to Rose Cottage Superette shortly after 8pm, after an offender with a knife took the cash register.

The victim was attacked around 100 metres away from the store shortly afterwards. He was able to make his way back to the dairy where emergency services were called, and first aid administered but died soon afterwards.

Kaushal told 1News the community is rallying around networks to do “whatever we can” to support the family.

He said the family are waiting for police to hand over the body of the victim so funeral arrangements can be made.

Kaushal said it will most likely be held in Auckland and would be a “big” funeral.

“We are in talks with the family. It will be a very big event and a large venue will be required given the public response to this.”

He said the parents of the victim had recently come to visit their son who was looking after the dairy while the owners are overseas.

Kaushal said the victim’s widow is unable to speak because of the shock.

“The family don’t want to talk to media and we don’t want to disturb her grief.”

He said following the funeral there will be a nationwide protest urging the Government to take action and protect dairy owners.

He said he will be meeting with stakeholders of the Dairy and Business Owners Group which represents about 5,000 business owners, as well as community leaders and leaders of the New Zealand Indian Central Association.

“It will be a nationwide protest. Businesses will close their doors for certain period of time and send a strong message that enough is enough. We will also launch a petition to demand the protection of dairy owners,” Kaushal said.

“It will be after the funeral though. Our priority is to support the family and then we will take action.”

He said he was disappointed Jacinda Ardern had not shown up in her electorate since the incident.

“We need action not empathy,” he said.

“She should have mentioned the words she did on March 15 - ‘They are us,’ he said - referring to Ardern’s comments after the March 15 terrorist attacks in 2019.

“We are they,” Kaushal said.

“It shouldn’t matter the number of lives lost, this happened under her watch.”

Ardern was in the Chatham Islands today to announce a new grant.

She is MP for Auckland's Mount Albert, an electorate that includes Rose Hill Superette where the dairy worker died on Wednesday.

Ardern said she contacted Sandringham community leaders and others affected yesterday.

"It is my local community, so I will be looking to be present there as soon as I'm able to but I'm also very aware there's a family grieving, and there's a police active investigation into a homicide," she said.

"I do need to delicately balance being in the right place at the right time when it comes to those two issues."

Responding to critics who say the Government isn't doing enough to support shop owners, Ardern said she would "obviously reject that".

"We need to do as much as we can to prevent these kinds of incidents and we will keep doing that, but again, within these circumstances I also need to be mindful of the human beings that are involved right now as well."

Kaushal said he had received a number of personal messages from MPs after Wednesday’s attack.

“Even Foodstuffs have offered support,” he said.

“Simon Bridges personally called at length, saying how sorry he is. Mayor Wayne Brown also sent his condolences.”

Over 100 people gathered across the street from the dairy, standing in solidarity yesterday morning. A vigil was also held last night.

Investigation continues

Cordons around the dairy were lifted this afternoon, leaving a mass of floral tributes.

Police thanked those who have already contacted them with information but say they still need to hear from anyone who witnessed the altercation that occurred around 100m from the dairy, or believe they saw the offender on foot, before or after the incident.

"We also continue to appeal to those in the community who know who the offender is, to do the right thing and contact us," said Detective Inspector Scott Beard.

Police told 1News in a statement this afternoon they haven't released the name of the victim "nor are we in a position to release at this stage, while we are still going through the formal processes".

Police have also set up an online portal for people to upload footage.