Man beat partner to death with 7kg paving slab as son, 6, cried for him to stop
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Man beat partner to death with 7kg paving slab as son, 6, cried for him to stop

A mother-of-six was beaten to death with a brick by her ex-partner while their children watched in horror.

Rueben Paul Peeni repeatedly bashed former partner Crystal Lee Selwyn with a 7kg paving stone, before two children desperately tried to save her life.

Their six-year-old son pleaded with Rueben to stop hitting his mum by biting him and pulling on his t-shirt.

Rueben inflicted 13 blows to Ms Selwyn’s head at their home in Hamilton, New Zealand on November 23 last year.

Another child, 14, who lived nearby, also tried to stop the brutal attack but was pushed away.



Before the 90-second deadly assault, Ms Selwyn phoned police for help. The emergency operator then heard her heard being smashed by the brick.

What followed were loud screams by the children which could be heard on the phone.

Rueben then fled, leaving the bloodied paving stone behind, for his sister’s house, NZ Herald reports.

In sentencing, Justice Lang told the court the effects on the children, aged between 6 and 14, of witnessing and hearing the attack would be life-long.

Ms Selwyn was rushed to hospital with head injuries, but had her life support turned off four days later.

Rueben was jailed for a minimum of 17 years.



Justice Lang said: “The taunts you made to Crystal in the presence of your children, [that] added a further element of depravity and callousness to the brutality.

“Furthermore the children were not only present but two of them also tried to stop you. The fact that you carried out this attack in the presence of and in the face of opposition of the children takes the callousness and cruelty of your offending to another level.

“It’s difficult to see how any father could subject his young children and their friends to seeing and hearing conduct such as this.”

The court heard how Rueben had been drinking all day and returned home after buying more alcohol.

He then walked around the house and was heard saying that he was going to kill Selwyn.



She called police at 6.27pm and stood outside while asking for help.

Rueben then punched the 38-year-old in the head, causing her to fall to the ground.

He then grabbed her hair and continued punching her four more times.

It was then the 14-year-old tried to stop the attack but he was pushed away, before the couple’s six-year-old son also tried to intervene.

Rueben continued the assault by picking up the heavy paving slab and hit Ms Selwyn several times, while repeatedly shouting she was “going to die”.

He put the stone down briefly before picking it up and hitting her again as he said ‘die you f****** a*******’.

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After fleeing, Rueben returned to the house with his sister and her husband, where he was arrested by police.

He told officers he “just lost it” but believed he’d only struck her with the brick twice.

He pleaded guilty to Selwyn’s murder on February 25.

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Pat Reaves
Pat Reaves writes for our World News section. Having spent his youth traveling from one country to another, Pat has incurred an education that is truly international in culture, academia, and language. His quick thinking and spontaneity has landed him in the sector where stories happen without any warning. He is an extremely patient and nurturing writer who lets a story take its course without interference and prejudice.

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