No charges in Auckland stabbing death — (

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Last updated 14:13, June 2 2015

Peter Meecham

David Cunningham died as a result of stab wounds on Ararimu Road in Ramarama.

No one will be charged after a man was stabbed to death in rural south Auckland.

The coroner has accepted a police decision not to charge anyone for the death of David Justin Cunningham, 40, who was stabbed to death in the middle of the night at a stranger’s property in Ramarama in 2012.

Cunningham had wandered there from his parent’s Drury home, about 4 kilometres away, in the hours shortly after midnight on August 27.

David Cunningham was stabbed to death in Ramarama, south Auckland.

At the scene he was confronted by a resident, who stabbed him to death in what the police termed “self defence”.

In a coronial judgment released today, Coroner Sam Herdson “decided against making any recommendations in this case”.

“On behalf of Coronial Services staff at Auckland, I offer my condolences to his family and friends for his death,” the judgment stated.

Police at the time said the case did not meet the requirements to charge the householder and there was no criminal intent in the stabbing death.

“For any criminal charges to be laid, police would need to be satisfied that the property occupier who killed Mr Cunningham was not acting in self defence,” Counties Manukau Detective Inspector Dave Lynch said.

“After a review of the recommendations from the Auckland Crown solicitor, police have decided that there is insufficient evidence to proceed with charges. A prosecution in this case does not meet the requirements of the solicitor general guidelines for initiating criminal prosecutions and accordingly no charges will be laid.”

The coroner’s report said Cunningham, a building contractor living in Mount Maunganui, had left his parents’ Drury home about midnight.

About 12.45 am he had knocked on the door of another stranger’s home asking to see his friends “Dave and Bev”, who were not known to the residents.

An hour later, Cunningham walked on to the property in Ararimu Rd in Ramarama. He approached a sleepout, which was occupied by the 24-year-old son of the homeowners, and that is where he was killed.

“[The occupant] heard the footsteps and armed himself with a knife and torch and confronted the person [Cunningham] at the door, as he believed that person was an intruder,” the report said.

A verbal confrontation followed, which turned physical.

“During the altercation Mr Cunningham was stabbed several times, some of which were to the chest and abdomen. Mr Cunningham died at the scene.”

Cunningham was later found to have had therapeutic levels of anti-depressants in his system, as well as 210 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of alcohol in his system.

The report stated that police confirmed they were satisfied the case was “self defence”.

However, it was noted that should new information come to light, “it would be open to police to reopen the investigation and reassess the evidence available”.


The decision not to charge the householder who killed in self defence has precedence.

These are similar cases:

2011: A 15-year-old boy was not charged for injuring an intruder at his west Auckland home when he stabbed him during a scuffle.

2010: Auckland pharmacist Grant Gillard held burglar Bruce Allen Jones in a headlock after Jones had triggered the alarm in Gillard’s pharmacy. When Gillard entered the shop, Jones rushed at him with a spanner and they struggled before Jones collapsed and died. Gillard was not charged.

2006: A dispute over a shared driveway ended with the death of Ronald Smith on the North Shore. An assault charge was withdrawn by police and the accused, who is believed to have claimed self-defence, was given permanent name suppression.

2006: Gun shop worker Greg Carvell shot Ricky Beckham in the stomach when he entered the Penrose shop threatening him with a machete. Carvell performed first aid and claimed self-defence but was charged with firearm offences which were later dropped.

2003: Rebecca Mohi killed Haamuera Te Waaka Mihi Henare when she ran over him following a family dispute at a marae near Taumarunui. Police launched a homicide investigation but accepted she was acting in self-defence and she was not charged.

1995: James Limmer stabbed Wiremu Solomon during a brawl in Kaikoura. Solomon died three months later, but police decided there was not enough evidence to prosecute Limmer for murder or manslaughter and he was not charged.

1995: Nusipepa LePaio killed his brother, Samuel, in a knife fight in Palmerston North. Police decided not to prosecute saying it was clearly self-defence.

1989: Panmure man Mark Williams, 58, is not charged after fatally shooting burglar Jimmy Rapata.