A Frenchwoman told those in attendance at a Christchurch trial earlier today (March 28) that she recognized the lips of Defendant Mark Hetaraka, 33, who forced his way into the victim's backpacker's room and assaulted and robbed her last year .
The victim, Marina Capaldi, testified via video link from France on the third day of the Christchurch District Court trial during which she said she remembered her assailant's lips.
COMMENT: Capaldi told the court under testimony that she had been asleep when there was a knock on the door of her room, at which point she opened the door to see who was there, only to have the Defendant, dressed in a black hoodie, force his way into her room, punch her, place bedclothes over her head and and steal her laptop, cellphone, passport, identity card, credit card and cash.
He also testified that he said he had a knife. Before leaving, he also told the victim that he was crazy and would not hesitate to kill her if he had to.
Hetaraka faces three robbery charges, all involving the robberies of foreign visitors from backpackers' rental accommodations.
The Crown and Defense will begin their closing addresses at 1000 hours on March 29.
We will keep our readers abreast of any developments in this case.
Crime against foreign tourists is a common occurrence in New Zealand. Hence, we urge visitors to exercise a high level of personal security awareness while traveling both in urban and rural areas.
Please note that New Zealand does have a crime victim compensation program: http://www.victimsinfo.govt.nz