'Frustrated' woman kidnapped flatmate in cry for help

JIMMY ELLINGHAM
Last updated 09:28 21/09/2013

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After taping her flatmate to a chair, an apologetic kidnapper called police and read a statement about the hostage drama.

The Palmerston North woman, who had a Taser aimed at her by police, later admitted it was all a cry for help as frustration with "government agencies" boiled over.

Feilding bartender Samantha Jane Medhurst, 42, has admitted kidnapping a man she lived with in the early evening of August 27.

According to a police summary, the pair's relationship is platonic.

They were watching television at their Bowen St flat when Medhurst suddenly pulled out a baseball bat from behind a chair.

"Whilst apologising for the fact it was something she had to do, [Medhurst] held it over her shoulder whilst she taped the right arm of the victim to a chair he was sitting in, then taped his legs together," the summary says.

The man didn't feel threatened, but complied with Medhurst's instructions. She moved the man's telephone out of reach when she finished taping him to the chair.

Medhurst told him not to try anything and then rang the police, reading over the phone a prepared statement.

It said she would hurt her hostage and she would harm herself using a knife if police tried to rescue the man.

"[Medhurst] then barricaded the main door into the flat using a spade to prevent the door opening inwards," the summary says.

Police officers arrived at the house, cordoned off the flat and began negotiating with Medhurst.

The hostage managed to free himself and was allowed to leave the flat, walking out the front door.

As he left, two police officers arrested Medhurst.

She later told police she kidnapped the man because she was seeking help from government agencies that were frustrating her.

At the time, police told the Manawatu Standard the officers who arrested Medhurst were armed with Tasers.

They did not fire the devices but fixed the laser target on her.

The hostage was not physically harmed.

In the Palmerston North District Court yesterday, Medhurst was convicted and remanded in custody until sentencing next month.

Judge Jennifer Binns ordered a pre-sentence report that will include an assessment for home and community detention.

At defence lawyer Paul Murray's suggestion, the judge also ordered a psychiatric report.

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- Manawatu Standard

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