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'I felt him die': stabbing survivor

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 26/10/2016

A man who survived being stabbed in the neck only to watch his best friend bleed to death on an Auckland street has told a court they were both attacked without warning.

Dustin La Mont, 26, is accused of murdering 24-year Whangarei man Nathan Pukeroa outside a house in suburban Mount Albert in the early hours of December 3 and grievously wounding Devaray Junior Cole-Kuvarji in the same knife attack.

Prosecutors say La Mont had become obsessed with getting his neighbours at 21 Renton Road evicted because of frustration with their mid-week parties and Mongrel Mob visitors and went so far to film and monitor them.

The Crown says on the night of the killing, La Mont sent out a series of angry tweets about another mid-week party, grabbed a knife and went towards next door.

On Thursday Mr Cole-Kuvarji, 23, told the High Court at Auckland he had spotted a man staring down the driveway of No. 21 and decided to follow him.

As he and Mr Pukeroa approached the man on the street, asking what he was holding, the man replied 'nothing' and then struck, Mr Cole-Kuvarji said.

"As soon as Nathan got into striking range, the person stabbed him in the neck," he said.

"I jumped to attack him, thinking he had punched Nathan, and in the midst of that little two seconds of scuffle, he turned and hit me in the neck."

Mr Cole-Kuvarji then described his desperate struggle to save his friend by rolling him on his side and the panic that ensued.

"I started to hear him gurgling ... I knelt down next to him and noticed all the blood coming from his mouth and nose," he said.

"I was wiping the blood that was pooling at his eyes."

By the time help came, he knew it was too late, he said.

"I felt him die. I knew he was gone."

He told the court he had quit gang life because of the attack.

Prosecutors say Mr Cole-Kuvarji - a Black Power prospect at the time - only survived the stabbing because the blade missed his jugular.

Earlier, Constable Franklin Den Hartigh, told the court La Mont had made numerous complaints to police about his neighbours.

La Mont's lawyers say he was defending himself from the two men.

The trial is set down for three weeks.

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