Waikato mum credits son with saving her life from estranged partner’s attack

3 min read

Claudie Thompson, formerly of Hamilton but now of Napier, has been jailed again for further violence against his partner and son and for a separate assault on another woman. Photo / 123RF

WARNING: Contains content on domestic violence.

A son stepped in front of his mother, likely saving her life, as his father walked towards them with a large boning knife held over his head.

Claudie Thompson then told his son to get out of the way as he began swinging the knife down in a stabbing motion, but he refused to move.

A court has heard today Thompson’s partner was able to run to a bedroom, where their other children were hiding. Thompson went to go after her but his son, the oldest of their children, instead tackled him to the ground.


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The 40-year-old got up and kneed his son four times in the head, stopping only as he fell unconscious.

The attack, on April 4 last year, was the culmination of not only three months of threats, assaults and breaches of a protection order by Thompson, but more than a decade of violence towards his partner.

He was in court for sentencing on two separate sets of offending in the Hamilton District Court today. One involved a theft and attack on a woman last year, of which a jury found him guilty on three charges. The other was for several incidents involving his partner, from January, March and April last year.

Thompson pleaded guilty in November, on the day his trial was due to start, to the litany of family violence charges, including four breaches of a protection order, two of assaulting a female and assault with intent to injure his son.


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The protection order was first issued in 2014. In January last year, the couple’s relationship ended.

Thompson’s partner was still keen for him to be a part of the lives of their five children, and on January 29 drove to Napier to pick them up after a visit.

Thompson became angry, shoved her onto the couch, straddled her and grabbed a knife, holding it with two hands above his head and told her, “I will f…ing do it and you know I will”, as their children stood nearby.

He told her that, if she left, he would “wipe her out” and that he did not fear dying or serving life in prison.

Then, from March 20, he sent her more than 300 text messages, ranging from saying he loved her to becoming angry, accusing her of having a new partner.

By March 30, she stopped replying to the texts so he turned up at her house and threatened her, saying he could “get” her at any time.

He punched her in the face during a visit on April 3, which their son also tried to stop, and continued to threaten her, later texting her saying; ‘you will never be safe from me, b*tch’.

Judge Philip Crayton said the April 4 assaults and threats on his partner and son were the most serious, adding the previous months had been an “extremely damaging and harmful time for her”.

“That she honestly believed not only that you could, but that you would kill her … and that your son saved her.

“Without his intervention, it’s a very difficult question to know where this would have ended.”


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Thompson’s counsel, Kerry Tustin, said what concerned her client was that, although he’d had a troubled upbringing himself, he had never wanted to subject his children to the same thing.

Up until April 4 last year, he had never hurt them, she said.

However, Judge Crayton noted, “He’s not physically harmed them”, before Tustin replied, “But to him that’s important … he had always stepped back from actual violence.”

She added that her client had struggled with his mental health and only late last year was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

He admitted having an issue around his temper “exploding”, and “self-medicating” with methamphetamine, “which is not the best”, she said.

“He lacks control, which makes him dangerous on occasions.” However, he was prepared and keen to change and to be involved in rehabilitative programmes while in prison.


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Summarising the partner’s victim impact statement, Judge Crayton said the incidents were a “traumatic series of events” that had significantly harmed those present.

He acknowledged the son’s actions in trying to help.

“He bravely sought to help his mother. He bravely put himself directly in harm’s way … and how terrifying that must have been.”

Noting that Thompson had previously served prison sentences for similar behaviour, the judge agreed to a minimum period of imprisonment (MPI) on the charges against the partner.

He jailed Thompson for five years and three months and ordered him to serve a 50 per cent MPI on the portion allocated to the family violence of four years, four months and three weeks.

Belinda Feek has been a reporter for 19 years, and at the Herald for eight years, joining the Open Justice team in 2022.


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