22 November, 2010

Self-defence in the News - No. 10

Dunedin woman fights off sex attacker

Dunedin woman fights off sex attacker

Mon, 22 Nov 2010

News: Dunedin Court Crime

Police have praised the efforts of a 24-year-old woman in fighting off an attacker in Dunedin early yesterday.

The woman told police she was followed when walking home along Stafford St about 2.45am before being accosted outside her home.

Detective Sergeant John Hedges said the woman had screamed for help while she kicked and scratched her attacker.

A male neighbour came to her aid, following the fleeing assailant down the street, but keeping a discreet distance.

This helped the police find the alleged offender within about 10 minutes.

Senior Sergeant Steve Aitken said the woman had received a minor head injury in the incident, but was coping "remarkably well".

• A 32-year-old man is expected to appear in the Dunedin District Court today charged with attempted sexual violation.

11 November, 2010

Self-defence in the News - No. 9

Shopkeeper fights off gunman

Shopkeeper fights off gunman

JESSICA SUTTON - Manawatu Standard


A Palmerston North dairy owner has told of his harrowing ordeal of being hit over the head with a gun during an armed robbery.

Police are still hunting for the man who attacked Seddon Street Food Market owner Raj Patel shortly after 7pm on Tuesday night.

Mr Patel was struck over the head with a gun after a man walked into his store and pointed the firearm at him – telling him to get on the ground.

"I came from the back room when he came in [to the shop]," Mr Patel told the Manawatu Standard.

"He yelled at me and told me to sit down on the ground.

"My wife [Hema] heard the yelling and knew something wasn't right. She managed to press the buzzer which alerted the monitoring company."

The man then hit him on the back of the head twice with the gun, he said. "I had to fight back. I was scared. I tried to find things to hit him with. I think it was then that he saw my wife holding a hockey stick. He must've been scared as he ran off."

Chasing the offender up Manchester St, Mr Patel said the man got into the passenger side of a car.

"It [the car] was obviously waiting for him. We are here for a living and it makes us really upset, but we've got a good community here.

"So many people came out of their homes to see if I was all right. I really want to thank them for their support."

Being back behind the counter yesterday was hard for Mr Patel, who said he was still "shaken" after the ordeal.

"I couldn't understand what he was saying to me. I couldn't understand what he wanted. My family is OK but are a bit shaken by it all. Hopefully police will find him soon."

He said although he didn't know who the man was, he looked "familiar".

"There was no-one else in the shop at the time and there was no-one on the street.

"He did not take anything, so I don't understand."

Police located a female witness yesterday who had said the offender got into the passenger seat of a silver vehicle, believed to be a Subaru.

The woman then followed the offender's vehicle down Aberdeen Ave, into Wood St and into Featherston St, where she lost sight of it.

The man is described as white, of medium build, and wearing a dark-coloured hooded sweatshirt and blue jeans.

Detective Sergeant Gary Milligan said police were still trying to track down the vehicle.

In April, two men with a knife and a metal bar allegedly threatened the lone female Seddon St store owner, forcing her to hand over the till containing the day's takings. Police later apprehended two men believed to be involved in the April robbery after road spikes were deployed between Tokomaru and Linton.

Anyone with information on Tuesday night's holdup should call Palmerston North Police on 3513600 or on the anonymous Crimestoppers line 0800555111.

03 November, 2010

Self-defence in the News - No. 8

Lack of help astounds petrol station hold-up hero

Lack of help astounds petrol station hold-up hero

By Vaimoana Tapaleao

Wednesday Nov 3, 2010

Photo / Hawke's Bay Today

A man who thwarted a suspected armed service station hold-up has been offered free coffee and a thank you from management.

And the company is standing by its policy that staff are under no circumstances to get involved with a violent customer, even when another customer is being attacked.

Scott McCullough had stopped at the BP station on State Highway 1, in Papakura, last Thursday around 6pm.

The 35-year-old was paying for his petrol when a woman yelling that she had a gun came inside and began threatening staff members.

With one hand in a sweatshirt pocket - where the alleged gun was hidden - she grabbed Mr McCullough.

The female robber then put Mr McCullough in a headlock before pointing what he believed was a weapon into his side.

"Three times she said: 'Give me the money or I will shoot him'," Mr McCullough said.

As he stood in a headlock he was shocked that the five staff members, who he said were all large and capable men, backed away and stood behind the counter looking at them.

"The cash register attendant backed away from the counter and didn't hand over the requested cash - whilst I was being held in a headlock with an alleged pistol forced into my stomach!

"As the attacker leaned towards the counter, I had no option but to grab the alleged pistol which was up [her] jumper ... and slam her hard up against the glass, knocking out a tooth."

When that happened, she surrendered and took her hand out of her pocket, saying she did not have a gun.

She then ran outside and made off in a getaway vehicle that was waiting for her.

A staff member managed to get the vehicle's registration, which helped police arrest a woman about 15 minutes later.

Mr McCullough said he could not believe that neither the staff nor members of the public looking from outside came to his aid.

"My main point is that in today's society, people are wary about helping out people in trouble."

Mr McCullough wrote to the BP New Zealand head office, calling for a review on the company policy that staff were not to deal to an aggressive customer.

In response he received a letter informing him that he would be getting coffee vouchers, while management yesterday thanked him for his brave actions.

BP general manager retail Frank van Hattum said although the attack was an unfortunate one, the company backed the actions of the staff members, saying they did everything right.

"All our staff are trained to under no circumstances engage with an aggressive customer.

"They have to stand back."

Mr van Hattum said the company had been in touch with Mr McCullough, as well as police, and were satisfied that everything had been sorted.

"We also thank the man because who knows what the situation would've been if he had not taken action against the woman.

"But we did ring police immediately and were satisfied that they were on the way."

A woman has been remanded on bail and is to appear in court next week.