Girls spoken to over filmed assault

ASHLEIGH STEWART
Last updated 17:32 07/01/2014
Christchurch girl hit by group
GROUP ATTACK: A Christchurch schoolgirl is set upon by a group of mostly female teenagers in the online video.

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Police have spoken to girls believed to have been involved in an assault in Christchurch that led to a revenge brawl after footage of the attack was posted online.

Detective Constable Simon Keith said police had identified four girls aged between 12 and 16 and had spoken with three of them.

The video of Saturday's attack by a gang of teenage girls on a 14-year-old girl went viral after it was uploaded to a public Facebook page overnight on Sunday. It showed a girl being punched in the head and kicked, before walking away and collapsing nearby.

The beating took place on the side of the busy street North Parade in the Christchurch suburb of Shirley. A number of cars could be seen in the footage driving by in the background.

Several Facebook pages have since been set up to ''name and shame'' the offenders. Comments call for revenge fights with the girls, make malicious remarks about their appearances, and suggest the offenders be ''bashed with a pole'' or ''hit by a bus''.

One of the victim's ''attackers'' today told Fairfax Media she no longer felt safe after she and her family received death threats.

The family of one of the girls contacted police today, and two others were contacted by police.

Keith said police were planning to speak to the three girls this afternoon and this evening, and expected to make contact with the fourth girl tomorrow. It is likely the four will be referred to police youth aid services.

Meanwhile, police confirmed earlier that three arrests were made following a related fight in Papanui yesterday evening.

Police were called after reports of a fight in Papanui Domain at around 6.20pm, involving between 10 and 15 people. It is believed weapons were used and that a car's windows had been smashed.

The group had dispersed by the time police arrived. It is not known if anyone was injured.

A short time later a police patrol located a car with smashed windows in Cranford Street. Police spoke to the four occupants and it was established that they had been involved in the fight.

Two males, aged 17 and 18, were arrested and given pre-charge warnings for fighting. A third male, aged 17, was arrested for possession of an offensive weapon and has been referred to the Community Justice Panel.

Police believe the fight had been prompted by Facebook posts calling for retaliation over the assault on a teenage girl on Saturday.

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However those arrested were not believed to have any connection to that incident or to the people involved in it.

Senior Sergeant Mike McRandle said suggestions of retaliation could easily get out of hand.

"It's especially concerning that people with no connection to the original incident have been prepared to take advantage of this situation to starts fights.

"There's a real risk that these situations can escalate, and with weapons potentially being used someone may come to serious harm."

- The Press

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