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New Zealander pleads guilty to stabbing 4 people in supermarket

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New Zealand man who couldn’t afford beer at a supermarket pleaded guilty to stabbing and injuring four people in the store in a frenzied attack

WELLINGTON, New Zealand – A New Zealand man who couldn’t afford beer at a supermarket pleaded guilty on Wednesday to stabbing and injuring four people in the store in a frenzied attack.

Luke James Lambert, 42, faces up to 14 years in prison when he is sentenced next year on four counts of attempted murder.

Shoppers and staff at Dunedin City’s Countdown Supermarket were praised for their bravery in the May attack after authorities said they were successful in preventing the man from injuring others. Three of the victims were seriously injured, but all have since recovered.

Less than four months after Lambert’s attack, an Islamic State-inspired extremist stabbed shoppers at an Auckland supermarket in an unrelated attack, injuring seven before being shot dead by police.

In the previous attack, prosecutors said Lambert went to the supermarket and bought a soda but didn’t have enough money to buy two cans of beer, according to the Otago Daily Times newspaper.

He later complained to an associate about not having access to medication, although authorities could find no evidence that he was denied prescription medication.

“Someone’s going to get it,” Lambert told his partner, according to the newspaper.

Lambert then returned to the store and grabbed a pack of four knives from a shelf and slashed the face of a worker who was storing items in the pharmacy aisle.

He then climbed on top of her and continued to stab her, saying he was going to kill her. As a store manager and two shoppers tried to intervene, he also stabbed them, the newspaper reported, citing court documents.

Supermarket staff, shoppers and off-duty police were successful in restraining Lambert in the store and providing first aid to the victims, helping to save lives.

New Zealand Police Superintendent Paul Basham said at the time their actions were “nothing short of heroic.”

Lambert is expected to be sentenced in May.

Dunedin is home to around 130,000 people, including a large number of students who attend the University of Otago.

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