Police speak to girls about filmed attack

ASHLEIGH STEWART
Last updated 17:38 07/01/2014

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Police have spoken to three of four girls believed to have been involved in an assault in Christchurch that has caused outrage and 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.

The video of the 14-year-old girl being set upon by a gang of teenage girls in Shirley on Saturday has gone viral since it was uploaded to a public Facebook page overnight on Sunday. It shows the girl being punched in the head and kicked, before she walks away and collapses nearby.

The beating takes place on the side of the busy North Parade, as a number of cars drive 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 The Press she no longer felt safe after her and her family received death threats.

The girl said the video misrepresented the fight, as it had actually begun after the victim asked to fight her.

''I'd been going through six months of her asking to fight me,'' she said.

''Afterwards, she asked for round two.''

The girl said she had texted the victim to ''get it over with'', and was pressured into the fight.

''I heard someone yell at me: If you don't hit her I'll hit you. It was my first fight, I never asked for the others to jump in. I barely know them at all.''

She deleted her Facebook account due to the volume of threats she was now receiving, often from complete strangers.

She was reduced to tears while talking about being afraid to leave her home.

''I'm okay. It just hurts to know that all of New Zealand is against me.

''I'm really sorry I did it - I will definitely apologise to her [the victim].''

RETALIATION BRAWL IN PAPANUI

Meanwhile, three people have been arrested after an organised brawl, believed to be in retaliation to a video posted online of the assault of a Christchurch schoolgirl.

The "revenge fight" comes as outrage over the video continues to mount, resulting in an outpouring of online abuse directed at the offenders, who say they are now afraid to leave their homes.

As those involved in the brawl had dispersed by the time police arrived, it is unknown if anyone was hurt in the incident - but some were wielding weapons.

Police said residents near Papanui Domain on Sawyers Arms Rd reported a "large fight" involving 10-15 young people carrying weapons. It was also reported that a car's windows had been smashed, a police spokesman said.

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The brawlers had dispersed by the time police reached the scene. It is not known if anyone was injured.

Shortly after, police stopped a car with smashed windows on Cranford St. The four occupants were found to have been involved in the fight.

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

Police also recovered a number of items from the car including a steel bar, a chain, knives, screwdrivers and a hammer.

They believed the fight was prompted by Facebook posts calling for retaliation over the assault on a teenage girl on Saturday.

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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