Sandringham stabbing: Dairy farmers plan nationwide protest over worker’s death

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Floral tribute to the slain worker outside the dairy.
Photo: RNZ / Marika Khabazi

An inquest into the stabbing victim’s body is being conducted today as dairy farmers plan a series of protests over Janak Patel’s death.

Patel, 34, was fatally stabbed when he confronted a robber outside the Sandringham store where he was working on Wednesday night.

He was working at the Rose Cottage Superette in Sandringham when it was robbed.

Detective Inspector Scott Beard, of Auckland City CIB, who is leading the investigation, has repeated his call for anyone who witnessed the altercation which took place about 100 meters from the dairy, or believes to have seen the perpetrator on foot, before or after the incident. come forward and talk to the police.

“We also continue to appeal to those in the community who know who the perpetrator is to do the right thing and contact us,” Detective Beard said in a statement.

Meanwhile, dairy owners have announced they will hold a nationwide protest following Janak Patel’s death.

They said more needed to be done to protect workers.

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Jithin Chittibomma, president of the Sandringham Business Association, said if the government had listened to businessmen’s pleas for protection, Patel’s death could have been avoided.

“Sadness, frustration, anger because we saw this coming. Myself, I said a few weeks ago that this is going to end in someone dying. This wasn’t rocket science.

“We knew this was going to happen. They didn’t step on the brakes. They thought the rights of the perpetrators were more important than those of the shopkeepers.”

Dairy and Business Association president Sunny Kaushal said the protest will take place once Patel’s funeral is completed.

He said thousands of dairies and small businesses will close for at least two hours as a mark of respect and protest.

He said small businesses want action, rather than empathy, from the government.

However, the first priority will be to help Patel’s family arrange the funeral.

The community and media gather after the fatal stabbing at a dairy

Community members support the family along with police personnel.
Photo: RNZ / Marika Khabazi

An autopsy will take place today, police said.

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Police also wanted to acknowledge residents of the cordon and surrounding areas and thank them for their cooperation, Beard said.

He also thanked those who had already provided information.

Cordons remain in place and are expected to be lifted later today or tomorrow.

The police have also set up an online portal where people can upload images.

People can upload photos or videos by going here.

The police can also be reached via 105, quoting file number 221123/3847.

Information can also be provided anonymously via Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111.

Fund opens to help family

Auckland businesses are raising money to support the family of the dairy farmer who was “senselessly murdered” this week.

The GiveALittle page was created by the Dairy and Business Owners Group to provide financial support to the victim’s elderly parents after he was fatally stabbed in Sandringham on Wednesday night.

“This could be any small family business,” the group wrote. “But it left a law-abiding shopkeeper who had so many promises.

“Most of all, it has cost a family a precious loved one.”

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The Rose Cottage Superette was lined with flower bouquets this morning as community members paid their respects. A candlelight vigil held last night drew a crowd of 200 people, with another scheduled for Saturday night.

The Dairy and Business Owners group said it planned to contact the victim’s family to ensure they were supported.

Prime Minister wants police to explain about fog cannons

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is asking police to clarify criteria for dairies receiving fog cannons.

The Auckland dairy where Janak Patel was killed had twice requested fog cannons, but was refused both times.

A number of Auckland dairy farms say they have been told by police that they are only eligible if they are raided first.

Ardern said that was wrong.

“That has not been the criterion for the fog cannons, which is why a thousand have been installed since 2018.

“So I would like to check with the police as to why that notice was given, because the criteria in the past were certainly much broader.”

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