A nine-year-old Kaikoura boy is still shaken after he managed to escape the grasp of a man who appeared to have been trying to abduct him from the roadside at Goose Bay on Sunday night.
Dan Marshall yesterday said his son had woken up several times in the night feeling scared at the memory of a man trying to force him into a car near the bay, 20 kilometres south of Kaikoura.
Mr Marshall said he was still coming to terms with the attempt himself. "I can't get over it, my god. He was very scared and upset."
The boy was sitting alone on a grass verge beside railway lines near the beach and State Highway 1 when the driver of a light blue, four-door sedan with black tinted windows parked in a layby off the road about 8.45pm.
Constable Lindsay Tilbury of Kaikoura said the man ran toward the boy, grabbed him by the arm and tried to pull him towards the vehicle. The boy managed to hit the man on the arm, escaped and ran, screaming to the beach where he had earlier been playing with his sisters in sight of his father,
Mr Marshall said his son did not know the man who tried to grab him. The attempt had raised his concerns about safety.
"We are more aware, things are changing here, for a small town it's getting worrying," Mr Marshall said.
"I hope they find them and imprison them."
The Marshalls were camping at the nearby Kaikoura Coastal Camp Grounds at Goose Bay, as they had for the last two years. Despite the attempted abduction, they plan to return to the campground.
Kaikoura Coastal Camp Grounds manager Adele Mahony said that kind of thing had never happened before. "We've been here six years and nothing like that has ever happened. It's very random."
Ms Mahony said she had left the office around the same time and had not seen anything. She said the family always kept a good eye on the children, who never went over to the beach unless they were with their parents.
She didn't think the camp could do any more to improve security and said the police regularly patrolled the area.
"If we get any people who we think are dodgy we don't let them into the camp."
She did not think the attempt would have a negative impact on the area.
Police are looking for the driver, who was wearing a black hooded top, and a possible passenger.
- The Marlborough Express
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