Stabbed tourist finishes her tour

19:49, Jul 25 2014
Michaela Brandl
ON HOLIDAY: Michaela Brandl was stabbed three times in the neck while hitchhiking from Whataroa to Queenstown.

One of two hitch-hikers attacked on the West Coast has returned to the roadside spot where she lay bleeding from stab wounds after escaping from a killer's vehicle.

German tourist Michaela Brandl, 28, continued travelling in New Zealand after she and her Japanese-Dutch companion, Niki Honda, 27, were attacked by Aaron Rhys McDonald in Franz Josef.

Brandl was stabbed in the neck, while Honda suffered pelvic injuries after she was pushed out of McDonald's moving vehicle on March 30.

McDonald, 38, who was armed with a metal bar, had earlier killed his Christchurch flatmate, Amy Farrall.

Honda returned to Japan soon after the women were discharged from Christchurch Hospital, but Brandl continued her New Zealand trip and returned to Franz Josef last month.

Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier manager Alexander Tschampel, who hosted Brandl during her four to five-day stay, said she asked to be shown the spot where she was rescued as "she had only really blurry memories" of it.


"We pointed it out to her, and one late afternoon she just went there for a walk."

People offered to go with Brandl as support, but she wanted to go on her own, he said.

"It was just something to help her get over it," Tschampel said.

Tschampel said the community was "really generous" to Brandl.

"We wanted to make sure [her] memory of their trip to the West Coast was more positive than when [she] got attacked," he said.

Brandl went on a helicopter flight, did the glacier walk, went to the hot pools, dined out and met one of her roadside rescuers, Sue Hocken.

Hocken, who runs the Aspen Court Franz Josef motel, said it was good to see Brandl recovered.

"I'm glad she is OK. That's the main thing," she said.

Hocken did a U-turn after she noticed McDonald's oncoming truck had its passenger door open.

She found Brandl and Honda lying on the road, called 111 and gave police the crucial description of McDonald's vehicle.

The Press