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Tuesday, 25 February 2020 - 10:43am |
Auckland City

Stabbing victim reunites with the strangers who saved her

3 min read

News article photos, audio and videos (1 items)

A teenager who was stabbed more than 16 times by her ex-partner has spoken out about her ordeal, and thanked those who ran to her aid.

Crystal Tupou was left fighting for her life after her ex-partner stabbed her multiple times in broad daylight on Anzac Ave, in central Auckland on November 22, 2018.

Three strangers - Steve Smith, Daniel Coombe and Walker Hunt - saw the attack unfold and didn’t hesitate to run to help Crystal, undoubtedly saving her life by stopping her attacker from inflicting any more wounds and causing him to drop his weapon and flee.

One of them also administered immediate first aid.

The 19-year-old received critical injuries to her vital organs, including her lungs and kidneys, and spent more than 12 days in hospital.

Now, after a lengthy recovery, Crystal has finally had the opportunity to reunite with the three witnesses who helped save her life.

The emotional moment is captured in a video posted on the Auckland City District Police Facebook page.

The officer in charge of the case, Auckland City Detective Tim Johnston, says during the investigation it became clear that had the witnesses not confronted the offender, Crystal’s ex-partner would have continued his attack.

“On behalf of the Police, I’d really like to thank those three witnesses for what they did. They didn’t hesitate to rush towards Crystal who was being attacked with a knife and they put their own safety at risk. I have no doubt that their actions that day saved Crystal’s life because, by the offenders own admission, he only stopped stabbing her because of the actions of these three brave witnesses. Their actions were nothing short of heroic.”

Police charged Crystal’s ex-partner with attempted murder. He pleaded guilty and in October last year was sentenced to six years in prison. 

One of the witnesses, Steve Smith, says it was an emotional moment being reunited with Crystal after all this time.

“When I first saw her she was helpless on the ground in the fetal position trying to protect herself and it broke my heart to see her like that,” he says.

“But to see her now, to have come through that, alive and happy and as well as she can be…it’s beautiful. It’s all we could have ever wished for.”

Crystal says she is incredibly grateful to Steve, Daniel and Walker for stepping in that day.

“They saved my life. There’s no way I’d ever be able to repay them but I hope a big thank you would be enough, and not only that but I want everyone to know that they’ve played a big part in getting me here, because if it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t be here and alive today.”

She hopes by sharing her story, she might be able to inspire other women in controlling or abusive relationships to leave them or seek help.

She says she wants to prevent what happened to her from happening to anyone else.

“There were signs but I chose to see the good side of him. People would say bad things about him but I chose to ignore it. I knew that one day it would get out of hand, and I let it happen. I had a choice to make whether to run away from it or not but I chose to stay, and if anyone is going through that, please no matter how much it hurts, do what's best for yourself, because no one is going to give you another life.”

If you suspect someone close to you is a victim of family violence or feel something is not right, it’s okay to act on it – you could save a life.

If you or someone you know is in immediately danger or feels their safety is at risk, we urge you to contact Police by phoning 111 immediately.

The following are some organisations that also provide further support and information:
• Women’s Refuge crisis line | 0800 733 843 - 24 hours |
• Family violence information line | 0800 456 450 |
• Shine National Helpline | 0508 744 633 -9am to 11pm |
• National network of stopping violence | 03 391 0048 |


Adriana Weber/NZ Police

Media note: A video of the reunion is available on the Auckland City District Police Facebook page. Detective Tim Johnston will also be available for phone interviews upon request. Please email for any requests.