It was meant to be a fun-filled girls’ day out as a group of Auckland women and their children met in a Te Atatu home last October to get their nails and eyelashes done.
Instead, the “pamper party” would end with one guest stabbing another woman in the neck so violently she would die just 15 minutes after paramedics arrived, having bled uncontrollably, prosecutors say.
Anna Eiao Browne, 37, is standing trial in the High Court at Auckland charged with Carly Stewart’s murder. She has pleaded not guilty.
Opening the Crown case yesterday, prosecutor Nick Webby said Browne was friends with Ms Stewart, but had become increasingly aggressive during the party, before eventually heading into the Te Atatu home’s kitchen.
There she “picked up the biggest knife in the butcher’s block” before attacking Ms Stewart, he said.
Ms Stewart was left holding a towel against the side of her own neck in the moments after the attack, according to recordings of 111 emergency calls played to the court.
Ms Stewart’s cousin Patricia Stewart, in one call, told a St John paramedic that despite the towel being pressed against the wound, blood was “everywhere” and running out her cousin’s mouth and nose.
In the call’s background, women can be heard crying and then confronting Browne.
Constable Samuel Sweetman arrived as the women threw a chair at Browne outside the front of the home. Leaving his partner to arrest Browne, he went in to help Ms Stewart, who was sitting on a couch spitting blood.
Earlier, Mr Webby said in contrast to how it ended, the day had started brightly.
Most of the women gathered were family or friends from primary school and had come to have fun and get their nails and lashes done, he said.
Browne arrived early in the morning with bourbon and vodka and became abusive as the day progressed.
When she called a fellow guest a “gang whore”, the party’s organiser and Ms Stewart remonstrated and both got into altercations with her.
“How dare you, this is a family house, my nieces are here”, Ms Stewart told Browne, Mr Webby said.
As the two were separated, Ms Stewart said, “I’ll be the bigger person, I’ll walk away”.
Minutes later, Browne grabbed the knife and struck Ms Stewart in front of the other guests, including children, Mr Webby said.
The trial has been set down for three weeks. NZN