The man that has been accused of fatally stabbing the Goan couple Herman Bangera and Elizabeth Bangera, living in Epsom, Central Auckland, New Zealand on March 19, will stay in custody for mental health reasons. Facing two charges of murder and one of attempted murder, he has been remanded at the Mason Clinic psychiatric unit under the Mental Health Act.
The 29-year-old accused man’s defense lawyer Paul Pati sought a mental health assessment on whether the man was fit to enter a plea. Justice Sally Fitzgerald called for a mental health report to be completed ahead of a plea being entered. Justice Fitzgerald ordered for interim name suppression to continue and remanded the accused in custody through to a trial scheduled for April 2022.
The High Court in Auckland on Wednesday heard discussions about whether the man accused of the Epsom stabbings was subject to a compulsory treatment order. Justice Sally Fitzgerald said she wouldn’t impose such an order if one already applied. The court heard health experts had suggested the 29-year-old stay where he is for at least six weeks.
A doctor suggested the man stay at the clinic so experts could complete the relevant reports. His next appearance will be on June 9 and he still has name suppression. Defense lawyers will advise the court whether the accused man will appear in court next time in person or by audio-visual link.
You May Also Read: Goan Migrated Couple Along With Their Son Stabbed in Epsom, New Zealand
Elizabeth and Herman Bangera were stabbed in their home on The Drive in the Auckland suburb of Epsom on March 19. Emergency services rushed to the property at about 11.30 am, but the husband and wife died despite the paramedics’ best attempts to save them. Another person who was hospitalized with superficial injuries following the March 19 attack has been discharged and interviewed by detectives. It was discovered that this person may have been a passer-by who tried to intervene.
The 29-year-old accused was admitted to Auckland City Hospital in a critical but stable condition following the incident. He remained under police guard at the hospital and had his first court hearing with Judge Josephine Bouchier from a hospital bed on March 26.
Police say they have been in regular contact with the couple’s family through Victim Support during this “extremely difficult time”. “This is an absolute tragedy for this family, their friends, and the wider community,” said detective inspector Scott Beard who’s in charge of the investigation. Beard has described the killings as “a tragedy” and a “family harm incident”.
You May Also Read: Indian community in Auckland Grieves Over The Tragedy of Epsom Couple
Herman was a volunteer at the Child Evangelism Fellowship, in Penrose since 2011 while Elizabeth Bangera, 55, worked at the University of Auckland. A spokesperson said the university is “shocked and saddened”.
“Elizabeth has been part of our university community for many years, working as a group services coordinator in the School of Pharmacy, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences. “She was a highly respected colleague and friend.”
The couple immigrated to New Zealand from India, Goa, and moved into the block of flats around 2007 because it was in zone for Auckland Grammar where their son attended.