Farzana Yaqubi murder: Victim advocate raises questions over police handling of stalking cases

The police watchdog has found failures in a police stalking investigation potentially led to the death of 21-year-old Farzana Yaqubi.

In a report out on Thursday, the IPCA found she told police she was living in extreme fear, weeks before her murder in late 2022.

Farzana Yaqubi was killed in broad daylight in 2022 by a man she warned police about weeks before.

On Wednesday, the Independent Police Conduct Authority report came out and found the 21-year-old law student may have been saved, if Police acted sooner.

"We New Zealand police accept the findings of the IPCA that our response to Farzana's concerns wasn't adequate," Superintendent Naila Hassan said.

The IPCA confirmed a damning timeline of events in their report.

On October 25, 2022, Yaqubi made a 105 report to the police. The IPCA said she provided screenshots of messages the man sent her - including one in which he threatened to throw acid on her face.

"She also provided Police with information sufficient to identify the man," the IPCA said.

Yaqubi’s file then sat inactive for six weeks while police waited for her to come to the station and provide a formal statement.

On December 3, 2022, Yaqubi reported a threat to her life. She then updated her online report, telling police she was "extremely fearful the man may pose a threat to her life."

Three days later she went to Henderson Police Station and gave a formal statement - where she was told the file would be forwarded to another station.

Yaqubi was murdered 13 days later. At the time of her death, the police had not progressed the matter any further.

"She did everything and she just wasn't heard," independent victims advocate Ruth Money said.

Money said the response raises questions about police handling of stalking cases.

"I don't believe that police are resourced or trained well enough in the area of stalking," she said. "More than often we get the feeling the victim is being blamed. The victim is being judged for being 'hysterical' or 'it's not that bad'," Money said.

The IPCA report found the way police initially assessed allegations was not fit for purpose.

Not only did it find Yaqubi's formal statement wasn't immediately addressed; it also found police failed to link her file and the file of another young girl who was also being threatened by the same man.

In a statement to Newshub from IPCA, Judge Kenneth Johnston said if it wasn't for these police handling inadequacies, the outcome in this case may not have been the tragic murder of the young woman involved.

"There is one person who is responsible for Fazarn's death. And that is the man who senselessly took her life," Hassan said.

"There was no bad intent from our staff, they just made a number of judgment calls and decisions that didn't. That ended up with us not providing Fazrana with a timely response."

Police have apologised to the family but that's little consolation for the loss of a daughter.