Alcohol fuels weekend of assaults

NICOLE MATHEWSON
Last updated 14:00 03/03/2014

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A series of violent assaults and robberies in Christchurch this weekend put two men in hospital and left others shaken.

Christchurch police said alcohol was a major factor in the incidents, which included a woman in her 50s being mugged on Hammersley Ave, in Shirley, on Saturday afternoon.

An unknown man punched the woman in the face as he tried to grab her purse during a brief struggle.

The man fled the scene with victim's purse, which contained cash and other items. He was believed to have left in a blue Holden, driven by another man.

Both men were described as Maori, wearing dark blue or black clothing.

A police spokesman said the vehicle had been found and police were following a positive lead towards identifying the offenders. 

Later on Saturday, a man in his 20s was reportedly assaulted by two men outside Burgers and Beers in Sydenham.

The attack happened about 11.45pm, causing the victim to collapse.

He was taken to Christchurch Hospital, where he underwent a CT scan. He was reported to be in a comfortable condition today.

Police planned to review any available CCTV footage of the area and were continuing other enquiries into the incident.

A second man in his 20s was attacked by another man just over an hour later outside a party on Beresford St, New Brighton. 

The victim received serious injuries and was in a critical but stable condition in Christchurch Hospital's intensive care unit today.

A 20-year-old man had been arrested and charged with injuring with intent, while a 30-year-old man was facing an assault charge. 

Both men were due to appear in the Christchurch District Court today.

In yet another violent incident, a 20-year-old Leeston man was robbed at knifepoint while walking on Papanui Rd about 1.30am yesterday.

The victim was grabbed by an unknown man near Office Rd, who threatened him with a knife and demanded cash.

The victim handed over some money before the offender fled along Office Rd. Police attended, but did not find the offender, who was described as Maori, of stocky build and over two metres tall. 

Inspector Derek Erasmus said the weekend was one of the busiest experienced by frontline police for some time.

Alcohol was a clear factor in many of the incidents, he said. 

"Alcohol is the consistent feature - and this reinforces the message that people drinking to excess put themselves at risk of becoming offenders or victims of crime."

The four serious incidents were part of a series of assaults around the city over the weekend.

A man in his 20s reported being attacked by two men near the corner of Bealey Ave and Manchester St about 8.25pm on Saturday.

Police tracked the offenders' vehicle to a house in Phillipstown and arrested a 19-year-old man for assault.

About 15 minutes later, police attended another assault on Travis Rd, Burwood, arresting two men.

Police were also contacted by a man who reported being assaulted when he tried to stop a fight between two other men near Burger King on Marshland Rd, Shirley, about 11.45pm on Saturday.

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Police were still looking for the offender, described as a male Maori, aged in his late teens and about 165cm (5 feet, 5 inches) tall.

Earlier on Saturday, a 21-year-old man was arrested for assaulting a 43-year-old man outside the Fitz Tui Clubrooms on Cashel St about 1.45am.

Anyone with information on any of the reported incidents is asked to contact Christchurch police by calling 03 363 7400.

Alternatively, information can be provided anonymously by calling Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

- The Press

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