24 August, 2014

Self-defence in the News - No. 69

Woman vigorously resists attacker


"Daylight sex attack at campus" 



Police are investigating a violent daylight sexual attack at Waikato University this morning.

A 20-year-old woman was confronted by a man aged in his 20s at the maths and sciences block about 8.30am, before being punched and dragged into a secluded area of the university grounds, Hamilton police said.

The woman screamed and "vigorously resisted" the man throughout the attack and eventually managed to flee her attacker, police said.

The offender was described as dark skinned male about 160-170cm tall and of medium build.

He had shoulder length black hair off his face and was wearing dark trousers and shoes, and a white long-sleeve sweat top with two distinctive black lines down the full length of the sleeves.

If anyone saw a person matching this description or has any information they are asked to call the Hamilton police or Crimestoppers (0800 555 111).

- Stuff

23 August, 2014

Self-defence in the News - No. 68

Christchurch dairy owner scares off knife-wielding robber


"Pepper spray sends knifeman fleeing"



Footage shows a man entering a Christchurch dairy before pointing a knife at the shopkeeper in a robbery. 

A Christchurch dairy owner scared off a knife-welding robber by threatening him with a can of pepper spray.

She also had a pool cue behind the door if she needed it.

Police have this week renewed calls for public assistance to identify the hooded perpetrator, who fled as soon as she held up the spray can.

But they warn dairy owners have few legal grounds to justify arming themselves.

Security footage of the June 23 incident at Avenues Dairy, on the corner of Worcester St and Fitzgerald Ave, shows the hooded man walk into the dairy and put a can of beer on the counter.

He requests cigarettes, and the dairy owner asks him for ID.

The man then pulled out a large knife, which Detective Hamish Beer said "has that cheese knife look about it".

The female attendant responds by grabbing a can and holding it up.

Beer would not comment on what it was, but a visit to the dairy found it was a can of pepper spray, which the small, friendly woman, still had handy, but out of a customer's reach.

She did not need to spray the offender that day. She just held it up and he ran, she said.

The dairy had been robbed only a month earlier, when two intruders, one holding a knife, threatened the female shop attendant, demanding cash and cigarettes. She called out to an associate, and they fled empty-handed.

She is not the only city dairy owner taking matters into her own hands.

In June, a Yaldhurst dairy owner wrested an air rifle off robber who demanded cash and tobacco pouches. Alexander William Edward Cottrell, 17, ran off empty-handed.

In October, another dairy owner fended off knife-welding robber Carly Denise Laughton, 27, with a chair. She was jailed in March after confessing to the robbery.

Detective Senior Sergeant Mark Warner said dairy owners could justify arming themselves only  if they had recently been robbed and feared it might happen again.

Otherwise, they risked prosecution for possessing a restricted or offensive weapon, he said.

Whether or not a dairy owner would face charges for fending off a robber with a weapon would be assessed on a "case by case basis", he said.

Dairy owners should instead consider security measures such as automatic doors and panic buttons, Warner said, but he conceded these came at a cost.

Offenders had little to gain for robbing dairies.

They often left with nothing or "very little", yet police and the judiciary took the offence "very seriously", Warner said.

Anyone with information on the June 23, Avenues Dairy robbery was asked to phone Detective Beer on (03) 363 7400.

- The Press

16 August, 2014

Self-defence in the News - No. 67

Woman fights off attackers


"Victim fought off attackers"

 By Hamish McNeilly 

16 Aug 2014

Joseph Lepper hides from the camera in the High Court at Dunedin while pleading guilty to a sex-related attempted abduction. Photo by ODT. 

A student who fought off two abductors on a mission to rape has made her parents ''insanely proud''.

The victim was supported by her family when her two attackers appeared in the High Court at Dunedin yesterday.

Joseph Lepper (37), of Motueka, pleaded guilty to a charge of detaining a woman without her consent with intent to have sexual intercourse with her.

Yesterday, co-accused Zane Alexander McVeigh (18), of Kaiapoi, was sentenced to two years and eight months' imprisonment on the same charge.

On the night of October 19, the pair were in Lepper's van cruising the warehouse precinct when Lepper spotted the victim walking in dimly lit Vogel St about 9.30pm.

''I'm going to do that bitch,'' he told McVeigh.

The victim, who cannot be named, fought off the pair as they tried to bundle her into the van, which was angle-parked in front of the 22-year-old.

In her victim impact statement, the victim said she ''had an inkling'' something was wrong when the van went past and stopped.

''It was a testament to her bravery that she was able to fight you off until help arrived,'' Justice Graham Lang, who had watched CCTV footage of the attack, said.

After the offenders appeared in court, the victim told the Otago Daily Times she was pleased her attackers were off the street and they did not harm anyone else.

''It is the best outcome from a worst-case scenario.''

The victim admitted she ''did well'' to fight off the two men long enough until others came to her aid.

Her parents, who live in Christchurch, said they were ''insanely proud'' of her actions.

''And I haven't seen how kick-ass my daughter was in the [CCTV] video,'' her mother said.

''A month previous [to the incident], she was at home chopping wood and literally couldn't even physically lift up an axe.''

Earlier, the court had heard how the attack had impacted on her last year of study.

She failed an exam and struggled to return to Dunedin to visit her sister, who was studying.

She was determined to move on with her life, and had a final message to share.

''Hopefully, we can teach men in society that they shouldn't be doing this kind of thing, as it is not acceptable ... and they won't get away with it.''

Her father said the attack was not a reflection on the city, and noted both men were visitors to the city.

''I don't think it is a sad indictment on Dunedin as such - it is sad there are people like that around.''

The victim praised the ''very good'' work of Dunedin police.

Her mother said she hoped McVeigh - whose offer of restorative justice with her daughter was declined - would learn from the incident.

''For a young man, let's hope he can turn his life around.''