25 March, 2017

Kung fu girls

Shereen and Moo

Photographer: Anthony
Date: 25-Mar-2017

Self-defence in the News - No. 102

Shopkeeper fights three robbers

Friday, 24 March 2017

By Sam Hurley

Shocking video footage of an Auckland shopkeeper desperately trying to fend off a violent robbery is the latest incident in a spate of brutal attacks.

The violence has grown to such a level that a petition will be submitted to Parliament calling for a review of the effectiveness of current police policies and strategy, Stop Crime NZ crime prevention group founder Sunny Kaushal told the Herald.

 Video of Wednesday night's Otahuhu liquor shop robbery shows three men enter the store about 7.45pm.

One of the offenders jumps across the counter and begins to attack the shopkeeper with a pole.

After the offender drops the pole, the shopkeeper uses it in an attempt to ward off his attackers.

However, the offender returns and wrestles the shopkeeper to the ground before repeatedly punching him. 

A police spokeswoman said there had been no arrests following the robbery, but police are continuing to investigate.

Kaushal said the shopkeeper was lucky to suffer only minor injuries, but said the violent upswing in robberies has forced shop owners to call for a government review.

Last night, a second Stop Crime NZ meeting was held, following an initial meeting after a brutal robbery at a Mt Roskill dairy last week.

"Our concern is the continuing robberies and brutal attacks on shop owners and small businesses in public places," Kaushal said.

"Our concern is the safety of residents, which is a fundamental right. Our concern is, the law-and-order situation appears out of control."

He said six shops in Auckland have been robbed during the past 10 days, including the Crown Superette in Mt Roskill where a group of seven offenders attacked and seriously injured the dairy owner and his wife.

 The dairy owner is still in hospital with a badly damaged arm and has already undergone four surgeries, Kaushal said.

Police charged two teenage girls, aged 13 and 14, with aggravated robbery following the incident.

Small business owners said "we constantly live in fear" while giving feedback at last night's meeting.

"Brutal Attacks in broad daylight in public places, shows the offenders have no fear of being caught," Kaushal added.

Along with the petition, a community protest march is being planned for next month.

14 March, 2017

Self-defence in the News - No. 101

Porirua residents fight off man attempting to abduct 3-year-old girl


March 14, 2017

A father has told how he fought with a man who tried to abduct his 3-year-old daughter, before neighbours joined in to subdue the attacker.

The father was walking home with the girl in Exploration Way, in the Porirua suburb of Whitby, when a "suspicious-looking" man started to follow them, "breathing heavily and muttering swear words".

"I told him to back off, when all of sudden he lunged at me," the father said.

"I scooped up my daughter and ran into the road and started waving and yelling for a car to stop.

"He chased me and grabbed hold of me while I had my daughter in my arms.

"I yelled for help, and at him to leave us alone. All I could think of was trying to protect my daughter.

"I pushed her away from me and told her to run away. Of course she's only 3, so she tried to run back towards me."

Neighbour Jo Alderdice heard the swearing and yelling, about 3pm on Monday, and came to intervene.

"I instantly knew one of them was trying to snatch her, so my first thought was just to get the girl," she said.

"As I ran towards them, I thought I would just slam myself into them to get her free, but when I got to them the girl had dropped to the ground.

"I grabbed her and ran into my house and locked the doors, screaming for someone to call the police.

"Once I was inside, the man started trying to break my front door down."

The father said that, when they first saw the man, "he was shuffling and swaying a little bit, and not engaging".

"He was following about a foot behind us. I could hear him breathing heavily and muttering swear words.

"I stopped to see if he would walk past but he didn't, so my first thought was to get on to the street away from him and in a public view."

He suspected the man might be a resident of a nearby home for people with mental health problems.

"I hoped once we walked past [the house] he would just go inside, but as we got to the house he beckoned my daughter to come inside."

After Alderdice's interventions, the father and another neighbour continued to wrestle with the man, who pushed a neighbour through the fence to get to Alderdice's door.

"He was determined to get in the house, and if we weren't there we would have forced his way in, I'm sure of it," the father said.

"We managed to hold him down while he spouted off random stuff about the KKK and the devil, crazy babble."

Police have confirmed a 32-year-old man has been arrested for abduction and assault. A court date has yet to be set.

Mental health services provider Pathways Health said on Monday night that the man in custody had been placed in its care "by the clinical team at Capital & Coast DHB, and was in the process of being admitted when the incident occurred".

"We are deeply shocked and distressed by this incident," chief executive Sally Pitts-Brown said. "Our main focus at this point is on supporting the wellbeing of all of the people involved, in any way we can.

"Our Pathways service is not a secure environment. We provide supported home-like environments where people can have a short break when they need to rest and focus completely on their wellbeing.

"We are working with the police as they carry out their investigations. We are also supporting our staff and people who use our services that have been affected by this situation."

The father said: "My daughter is doing all right. She is only 3, so doesn't fully understand what's happened.

"I've been shaking for a good few hours, but I am so grateful to our neighbours. They were just amazing, and instinctively protective.

"If they hadn't been there, it would have been a different story."

Police said the man was in mental health care on Tuesday morning but charges would be coming.

Self-defence in the News - No. 100

Female jogger fights off brutal sex attacker

13 March 2017

A Seattle jogger was left bloodied, bruised - and triumphant - after using self-defence tactics to fend off a bathroom attacker.

Kelly Herron scratched, kicked and screamed at alleged assailant Gary Steiner, 40, at a Golden Gardens Park restroom on Sunday afternoon, according to the Daily Mail.

The 36-year-old was training for a marathon and had stopped to use the bathroom when she felt Steiner, a registered sex offender, sneak up behind her. At that point, according to police, he assaulted her.

Herron said she began to fight back, yelling out "not today m***** f*****". Eventually she managed to escape from Steiner's grasp and trapped the homeless man in the restroom until police arrived.

The jogger shared a photo on Instagram of injuries from her "biggest running nightmare" but credited her safety to a self-defence class she took three weeks earlier.

She said, "My face is stitched, my body is bruised, but my spirit is intact."

"I fought for my life screaming, clawing his face, punching back, and desperately trying to escape his grip - never giving up. I was able to lock him in the bathroom until police arrived.

"Thankfully I just took a self-defence class offered at my work and utilised all of it."

She added to Kiro 7, "I'm really grateful I survived. I was screaming at him... being loud and not afraid. I mean you are afraid, but you're letting him know 'you are not taking me down today. You are not going to win this fight'.

"That was the only thing that was motivating me ... I cannot be raped by this guy in this place."

Steiner was taken by police shortly after Herron escaped and was helped by a witness who heard her screams and called officials.

She told police "she felt like she was going to be raped" and Steiner was charged on Wednesday with attempted second-degree rape and second-degree assault with sexual motivation, according to The Seattle Times.

Police said Steiner confessed that while he was waiting in the bathroom, two other women entered the space but he didn't attack them.

But when Herron was drying her hands, he worked up the nerve to approach her, knock her down and repeatedly punch her in the face in an attempted rape, according to police.

The charging documents state that Steiner told police that he wanted them to kill them and an officer wrote, "The defendant represents a severe danger to the community.

"His predatory attack on a female in the middle of the day represents a brazen willingness to assault without concern for getting caught."

The paper reported that the man was convicted in Arizona for sexually assaulting several women in 1999, indecent exposure in 2008 and convicted of criminal mischief with a deadly weapon in Clark County, Washington, in 2015.

11 March, 2017

Self-defence in the News - No. 99

Farmer who shot burglar is cleared by jury

11 March 2017

A farmer who shot a convicted burglar he thought was stealing diesel from his farm cried outside court today after a jury took just 24 minutes to clear him of GBH.

Father-of-three Kenneth Hugill, 83, who had two hip replacements and a heart-bypass operation, was arrested, finger printed and forced to fund his own £30,000 defence after he shot Richard Stables, 44, in the foot outside his isolated farmhouse at Wilberfoss, near York.

Mr Hugill shook the hand of his solicitor and wept outside court briefly after a jury at Hull Crown Court cleared him of causing grievous bodily harm.

Today his family revealed that following the incident their home was surrounded by armed police and a helicopter who believed they were holding a hostage more than 15 hours after the shooting.

The family criticised both the Police and the Crown Prosecution Service for their decision to prosecute an 83-year-old man defending his home.

Speaking outside the court, Mr Hugill said: 'I'm very, very pleased. It's marvellous.

'We thought I shouldn't have been prosecuted right from the start, I didn't feel it was justified at the time.

'I pulled the trigger because I thought that car was going to kill me.'

Mr Hugill told the court yesterday that he was 'petrified' when the Land Rover 'revved up' without lights on and set off towards him.

He fired two shots - one towards the side of the vehicle and another in the air to frighten the occupants away.

Richard Stables, a convicted burglar, was hit in the foot and driven straight to hospital by his friend Adrian Barron, a seasoned criminal with convictions for burglary and violence.

Mr Stables suffered serious injuries but survived and gave evidence as a prosecution witness.

The terrified farmer, who walks with a crutch and has never previously been in trouble with the law, ended up being charged with grievous bodily harm and put on trial at Hull Crown Court.

Humberside Police currently are in possession of his gun and it is unclear if he will get it back.

Concerning his licence, Judge David Tremberg told the court that it was up to the chief constable to look at the 'renewal' of Mr Hugill's licence.

It is not known if Mr Hugill's licence will be taken away from him.

Yesterday he hobbled to the witness box to recall the early hours of November 13, 2015.

He was asleep with wife Sheila, 78, at the family farm in Wilberfoss, East Yorkshire, where he has lived and worked for almost his entire life, when he noticed a light outside as he returned from the bathroom at around 2am.

'I saw it appear again and thought it was somebody with a flashlight, but it was so black dark I couldn't see anything,' he said.

'The next thing I saw was the silhouette of a vehicle going past the farmhouse. I thought it was creeping up slowly with no noise and no lights on and thought it was up to no good.'

Hugill spoke to his wife, got dressed, put on his hat and went downstairs in the dark. He told police they didn't get electricity until 1954 so he could find his way around without lights.

He went into the yard after taking the shotgun - given to him as a 21st birthday present by his parents - and loading it with two cartridges.

'I walked towards where I thought the vehicle was,' he said. 'I still couldn't see anything really.'

The farmer said he was startled by the sound of the Land Rover's engine and had little time to react.

'I stood still and practically immediately heard the engine, very, very loud. I was petrified for a second or two and thought it was coming at me,' he said.

'I fired the shotgun to the side of the vehicle towards the floor. The lights of the vehicle were off. I didn't want to hit anybody, just frighten them away.'

Hugill said the closest he got to the car was 12 to 15ft and he never saw anyone in it.

A second shot was fired 'straight up' as the car drove away to deter the occupants from returning, the court heard.

Once back inside the farmhouse he phoned his son who lives nearby, and the son called police, although they did not come out that night.

The court heard the men may have been on the site to steal diesel from tanks near the farmhouse and a lock had been 'tampered with'.

Christopher Dunn, prosecuting, told the jury the issue was 'whether it was reasonable for Mr Hugill to act in the way he did'.

He said the Crown's case was that the farmer fired the gun 'recklessly' and 'without shouting' or calling the police first.

Asked under cross-examination if it was 'a bit much' to take a shotgun outside to investigate, Hugill replied: 'I didn't know who was out there, it was only for protection.'

Yesterday Stables, who uses a wheelchair to get about because of his injuries, claimed to be 'lamping' - hunting for rabbits by torchlight - with a friend and his dog on the night of the incident.

He said they were lost on a country road and pulled up near the defendant's farmhouse to clean up a mess the lurcher dog had made inside their Land Rover.

Mr Stables, 44, told the court he may have pointed the 'lamp' at the farmhouse window by accident but had no idea diesel tanks were nearby.

He told the jury he was putting the dog back into the car when he was shot in the foot without warning.

'As I went to shut the door I saw a figure appear. No words were spoken. Whoever was stood there fired a gun that hit my foot,' he said.

'I felt excruciating pain. I thought my foot had gone. The shot went all the way through my foot taking all the bones with it.'

'I thought my foot was not there. I can't remember much after, except we set off driving. I heard another shot. It may have been straight away afterwards. There were definitely two shots. One hit me in the foot. I was bleeding quite lot.'

Mr Stables said he used a rope for a tourniquet and went to York Hospital's accident and emergency unit, where he was dropped off by his friend Barron, 40.

The injured man gave three different versions of how he suffered his shotgun injuries before eventually admitting a farmer shot him.

The court heard Mr Stables had a criminal history with convictions for burglary, theft and possession of an offensive weapon.

He was also on a police intelligence list as a person active in rural crime after an incident in the Yorkshire Dales where an officer threatened him with CS spray.

The defence claimed Stables and Barron were there to steal diesel not hunt for rabbits.

Roderick Hunt, defending, told Stables: 'You just made it up. It is the dog defence that burglars have when they are stopped by the police.'

Chief Crown Prosecutor for Yorkshire and Humberside Gerry Wareham said today: 'We considered all the evidence in this case extremely carefully, and took full account of the situation Mr Hugill found himself in that evening.

'We are satisfied that there was sufficient evidence to put the matter before a court and that it was in the public interest to do so. The jury has now returned their verdict and we respect their decision.'