A young Auckland woman who almost died after being stabbed by her ex-boyfriend more than 20 times has met the bystanders who “saved her life”.
In November 2018, Crystal Tupou was lured to Anzac Ave by ex-boyfriend Micah Santos who used a fake Facebook profile to invite her to lunch.
When she arrived at the meeting spot, Tupou said she came across the “one person I didn’t want to see”.
After arguing and threatening to kill her, Santos attacked Tupou, repeatedly stabbing her in the street.
In August 2019, Santos plead guilty to attempted murder and was jailed for six years.
Now, Tupou has met with the three men, Steve Smith, Daniel Coombe and Walker Hunt, who ran to her aid and stopped Santos.
Detective Tim Johnston said Santos told police he only stopped stabbing Tupou after seeing the men.
“I believe if they did not do that, the victim may have got more serious injuries and may not have survived.”
Johnston said the men didn’t hesitate to help Tupou and put their own lives at risk.
“Their actions were nothing short of heroic.”
In a video shared by police of Tupou meeting Smith, Coombe and Hunt, she was in tears as she embraced them.
Smith, who was the first to reach Tupou, was also in tears.
“It’s very emotional to see something like that,” he said, “breaks my heart”.
Coombe said what Tupou went through was “horrendous” but people aren’t powerless to change the outcome of events.
Tupou said she was “incredibly grateful” for the men who stepped 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.”
Santos took two knives from the kitchen of his Henderson home in a Louis Vuitton bag and caught the train to meet up with Tupou on the day of the attack.
After the three men scared Santos off, he ran from the scene, dropping a knife and his bag.
He was arrested at Orakei train station after calling 111 and telling the phone operator what he had done.
By sharing her story, Tupou hoped it may help other women in controlling or abusive victims seek help.
“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.”
Police encouraged anyone who was in, or knew someone who was in a harmful relationship to ask for help.
WHERE TO GET HELP
Women’s Refuge Centre 0800 773 843
Family Violence Line 0800 456 450
Shine National Helpline 0508 744 633