Dunedin Countdown attacker admits trying to kill four people

Source: 1News

A man has pleaded guilty to four counts of attempted murder following a knife attack in Dunedin’s Central Countdown store in May.

A police car blocks an entrance to the Dunedin Central Countdown.

Luke James Lambert, 42, appeared in the High Court at Dunedin on Wednesday via video link before Justice Cameron Mander and entered the guilty pleas through his lawyer John Westgate.

Four people were injured in the May 10 attack - two Countdown staff members, and a husband and wife who were customers in the store at the time.

The police summary of facts states Lambert entered the Dunedin Central Countdown store shortly after 12.30pm on Monday May 10.

He was in the store for 30 minutes, purchased a pie and soft drink, before attempting to purchase two cans of beer, which was unsuccessful as his Eftpos card declined.

He left the store shortly after 1pm, and was later seen in the Octagon by an associate at 2pm, who described him as agitated.

Lambert stated the doctor wouldn’t give him any medication, and “someone is going to get it”.

Dunedin Countdown attacker Luke James Lambert

Police have obtained Lambert’s medical records, and there is no evidence to suggest he was denied access to medication.

He returned to the supermarket later that afternoon, picked up a pack of four knives from a shelf, and walked towards a female supermarket worker who had her back to him.

He slashed her across the face, causing multiple wounds.

He continued to stab the victim as she fell to the floor, and told her “I’m going to kill you”.

The three other victims stepped in to help the worker, and were all struck by Lambert.

All sustained a range of injuries including stab wounds to the abdomen, chest, stomach, and back.

One woman was stabbed in her back, causing blood to enter the lining of her lungs.

An off duty police officer, other Countdown staff and members of the public helped to restrain the offender, and administered first aid to victims.

Today, the court heard these actions prevented loss of life.

The victims have since given their thanks and gratitude for the support they have received by Kiwis since the attack, as they continue to recover.

Lambert will appear for sentencing in May next year.

“We are pleased that the offender has entered a guilty plea, which will hopefully go some way to giving our Dunedin Central store team peace of mind," the chain's director of corporate affairs Kiri Hannifin said.

"It was an incredibly impactful incident for them. We've checked in on them this morning and they are feeling very relieved. We remain immensely grateful to the Dunedin Police for not only their quick actions on the day of this awful event, but in the days, weeks and months since."