Man bashed partner with shovel, court told

A Napier man fractured his partner's skull when he allegedly hit her with a spade and left her lying in a pool of blood after an argument, a court has heard.

A jury trial for Andrew Tauira Whatarau began today at the Napier District Court in which he is defending a charge of causing grievous bodily harm with intent.

The incident occurred in the early hours of April 22 last year at Whatarau's residence in Maraenui after the two had attended a party at a friend's house.

The woman was taken to hospital with injuries that included a six centimetre wound to the back of her head, a fractured skull and bleeding around the brain, crown prosecutor Nicola Graham told the court.

After returning from the party to find herself locked out of the house, she proceeded to smash several windows before Whatarau allegedly hit her with the garden spade.

"He ran outside and hit her in the head with it," Mrs Graham said. "Afterwards he then went back inside . . . he left her, literally, lying in a pool of blood." She said his response was "definitely" not reasonable given the circumstances.

Whatarau's defence lawyer Scott Jefferson asked the woman if she had picked on Whatarau at the party earlier that night. He also asked her if she had arrived home in a "jealous rage", and suggested she had tried to run at him with a stick.

Mr Jefferson said a neighbour's statement described Whatarau as retreating away from her. Her account of the night was "completely" at odds with the neighbour's, he said.

The trial is expected to continue tomorrow.

- By Corey Charlton of the Hawke's Bay Today

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