Teens' screams for help ignored
Two mums are horrified that members of the public turned away from their children as they cried for help during a group assault.
Four members of a drama league were on a break from rehearsals in Timaru when they realised they were being followed by a group of about 15 teenage boys.
One of that group challenged a drama league boy to a fight. He ignored them and kept walking until he was punched and attacked by the group. He was knocked to the ground, but the attack continued.
A former police officer who knew the victim arrived on the scene and stepped in to stop the assault.
"He was getting a real pummelling. One was laying into him with both fists," Paul Davis said.
"I jumped out of the car and ran around to chase them away but they all fronted me. They scattered initially [and the victim got up] but they had no fear."
Davis said he managed to identify some of the group to police officers once they arrived.
Tracey Nelson's 17-year-old daughter was with the three drama league boys when Sunday's assault took place. What horrified her is that her daughter's screams for help were ignored.
"My daughter pleaded for help to an adult very close by who ignored her and jumped in her car and drove off. There were also other adults she called out to who also chose not to get involved.
"If we have young people in our community that are already too intimidating for adults to intervene to keep our innocent young people safe, what are we to expect in a few years?
"I can't imagine how frightening that must have been for my daughter, screaming for help to adults and being totally ignored.
"Part of me understands why they would fear getting involved, but people have to start taking a stand," Nelson said.
The incident had shocked her daughter who had "no idea there were people like that in our community".
"It has knocked her. She has not slept for the last couple of nights."
Her daughter had been wary about going into Timaru since the incident and had stayed close to her friends when she did so. She also stayed in close phone contact with her mother while in town.
It was a similar situation for the boy at the centre of the attack, his mother Diane said yesterday.
"He is shocked by what happened and does not want to go anywhere.
"Why can't our kids walk the street without getting assaulted? Timaru should be a safe place. That someone got in a car and drove off [after seeing the assault] was gut-wrenching for me."
It angered her that the perpetrators of the assault were apparently boasting about the incident on Facebook.
Timaru police sergeant Geoff McCrostie said while he can understand some people might not want to get directly involved, they should not just walk away.
"We are probably better having a reliable witness than another victim. People shouldn't walk away from such situations as that encourages that type of behaviour to continue on some future occasion."
He said for the offenders to know the police had been called often acted as a "valuable deterrent".
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- © Fairfax NZ News
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