‘No one deserves to be taken this way’: Partner of slain Christchurch man Dan Hawkins shares her heartbreak

The partner of a man allegedly murdered at his Christchurch home says she is struggling to make sense of his death.

She says even though their relationship was troubled she loved and adored him and had hopes for a long and happy future together.

But that was all destroyed on Wednesday when Kenneth Daniel Hawkins, 50, was allegedly murdered at the community housing complex where he lived.

Nyomi Coleman and Hawkins had been in a relationship for about a year.

“I really don’t know what to say … I can’t believe it and I just want him to walk in the door or ring,” she said tonight.

“He was my partner and he is so missed and wanted so much … he will forever be Dan my man.”

Hawkins and Coleman had been together for about a year.

He was an ex-Mongrel Mob member trying to turn his life around and she a single mum of one.

They had their issues but Coleman said their love was strong.

“He made me feel wanted, made us feel like a family,” she told the Herald.

“That’s something I’ve never had.”

Hawkins was facing family violence charges in relation to an incident involving Coleman.

The pair had not seen each other for about six weeks, a condition of his electronically monitored bail conditions.

Coleman was missing Hawkins terribly, then got a phone call from police to say he had died.

Hawkins was found critically injured on Saturday by neighbours.

He had been stabbed.

Emergency services were called but Hawkins’ injuries were too severe and he died soon after.

Police began a homicide investigation and remain at the house carrying out a forensic scene examination and speaking to other residents.

A 28-year-old man appeared in the Christchurch District Court yesterday charged with murdering Hawkins.

He was granted interim name suppression and remanded in custody until his next appearance in the High Court at Christchurch next month.

He is also facing charges of robbing two other men – strangling one – stealing cars and giving police false information.

The Herald cannot publish any further detail about him including how he knew Hawkins.

Coleman was ravaged by grief when she spoke to the Herald, soon after she visited the scene of Hawkins’ death.

She desperately wanted to see him but could not as his body was still in police custody.

“He had such a caring side … we both had issues and he was on current charges for assaulting me, but it would never take away the love I have for him,” she said.

“Nothing will ever replace him or the happiness he brought – that smile of his was not (often) but it was beautiful.”

Coleman shared a photo of her with Hawkins, a rare shot when he was smiling.

That’s all she has left of her partner now.

“I woke up to police telling me [he was dead],” she described.

“It was heartbreaking. I haven’t slept since, I don’t think I am making any sense … my daughter and I went to his house today and left flowers and a love heart sign with words.

“He was such a cuddly bear, taken away too soon. No matter what – nobody deserves to be taken this way.”

Coleman said her daughter was reeling from Hawkins’ death.

He had three of his own children – all adults – who he had not seen for many years.

He also had grandchildren he had not met.

“He loved his children so much,” his partner said.

“He hasn’t seen them for years but spoke about them every day we were together.”

Coleman recalled her favourite things about Hawkins.
“His beautiful, handsome smile … his affection, his arms wrapped around me,” she said.

“He knew how to comfort me at the right times.”

Coleman acknowledged her partner’s dark past, his previous convictions, his violence, his gang connections.

But she said he was committed to a better life.

“He was making positive changes, he just had slip-ups along the way – we all make mistakes,” she said.

“He was Dan, my man. The love we had for each other couldn’t be broken.

“We always hugged each other and reminded each other how much we loved each other.

“No one, and I mean no one, could ever take away the love I have for him.”

Coleman decided to speak to the Herald to share the side of Hawkins she loved.

“I just want people to know how much he was loved,” she said.

“Being a gang member or not, he was loved and he was wanted and he made me feel good as a person.

“I wish he got to hear me tell him that one last time.”

Coleman said if she had the chance to speak to Hawkins again she would have had one message for him.

“I love you, we love you – I am so sorry,” she said.

“You deserve all the life and happiness that you give out.”


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