Car park attack victim plans to kickbox
December 11, 2014
PARTNERS AGAINST CRIME: Brit Horne, 20, from Nawton, and
her dog Envy fought off an attacker in a supermarket carpark.
MARK TAYLOR/ Fairfax NZ
A routine trip to the supermarket ended in a terrifying ordeal for a young Hamilton woman when she was attacked in the carpark by a stalking stranger.
Brit Horne has been left unable to sleep and off work after she was grabbed from behind by a man in what police believe was a sexually motivated assault at Bridge St Countdown last week.
The 20-year-old managed to fight off her attacker with the help of her three-year-old dog Envy, who latched onto the man's arm.
She kicked the man in the groin and escaped unharmed, but the emotional impact has taken its toll.
"I was just going to get dinner and you would think you would be alright, I have never been more grateful to come home in my life."
Horne wasn't a regular at the city supermarket and had visited two others in search of American hot dogs when she stopped at Bridge St about 8pm on Wednesday, December 3.
As she made her way around the aisles she felt someone watching her.
"I wandered around and noticed this guy was everywhere that I was, and every time he had a different object in his hand, it was really strange."
The man, described as a short Indian man aged in his late 30s, never said a word to her.
"I turned around and he was kind of standing there looking at me."
Horne gathered the items she needed, paid at the self-serve checkout and returned to her car near the centre of the carpark.
Loading the groceries into the driver's side, Horne says her three-year-old staffi-cross began snarling from the back seat.
"I was saying hello to my dog then she started growling - she was barking so much she started foaming at the mouth."
Suddenly a man grabbed her around the waist, pulling her back.
"All I felt was this arm coming past my waist, and this hand coming past my face, then she [Envy] jumped out of the car onto this guy's arm.
"I thought what do I do - my dog was on his arm so he let go and I turned around and saw it was the same guy."
Horne kicked the man in the groin leaving him stumbling in pain.
"I just grabbed my dog and got him into the car, got into the driver's door and locked it, I looked around and couldn't see him."
Hamilton police said the man fled the scene but it was unknown if he was on foot or in a vehicle.
Detective Sergeant Matt Cranshaw said police believe the man's actions were sexually motivated. "This was an attack with sexual overtones and is of concern to us," he said.
He praised Horne's quick-thinking actions and ability to assess the situation.
Since releasing supermarket CCTV footage of the alleged attacker this week, police have received numerous reports from members of the public and have identified a "strong suspect", said Cranshaw.
However, police are still looking to speak to any witnesses of the supermarket carpark attack.
Horne said there was a scattering of people in the carpark during the attack on dusk. "I saw people looking around but I don't know if they saw it happen."
Horne, who has never had self-defence training, has now signed up to a gym and is planning to take up kickboxing.
"I just hope the police find him, he has to be someone's neighbour or co-worker, someone has to know him."
Cranshaw believes the incident is a "one-off" and Horne's safety is not at risk.
Anyone with information can contact police on 07 8586200, or anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.
- Waikato Times