An pensioner couple have been battered and bruised in an attack police are describing as "cowardly and despicable".
The Thursday evening assault has left Tokoroa couple Margaret and Bob Gabolinscy feeling unsafe in the town they have called home for the past 50.
The Gabolinscys were at home in Weka Pl on Thursday evening when they heard people walking through an alley that runs alongside their home.
"I went out to close the gates. They had been trying to rip the corrugated iron from the gates.They were smashing the iron," Mr Gabolinscy said.
"I told them to have more respect for other people's property."
Mr Gabolinscy, who worked at the Kinleith Mill for 30 years, asked the three men to stop, but copped a volley of abuse for his trouble.
"They were saying every word they could to me. They were saying `you old bastard'."
Then the altercation turned violent. One of the men threw a full can at the back of Mr Gabolinscy's head, opening a gash that bled profusely.
He ran to phone police as Mrs Gabolinscy again asked the men to leave.
However, what happened next shocked and disgusted the 75-year-old grandmother.
"One of them, a hefty one, came running up to me and hit me right in the eye and I flew backwards onto my parked car," she said.
"I am not doing too well. What has happened to us could happen to anyone. What does it say about a 21-year-old hitting a 75-year-old?"
And the abuse didn't stop there, the Gabolinscys reckon up they were pelted with up to 15 cans of alcohol.
The trauma of the mindless attack has left Mrs Gabolinscy feeling unsafe in the street she has lived for 23 years.
"I will feel safe when it is closed (the alleyway), but no I don't feel safe at the moment."
She certainly doesn't want to encounter her attackers again.
"I do not want to see them again to be honest. You can always ask why did this happen? But I do no want to see them again. They also could have done much worse."
Two of the offenders, believed to be male and Maori, were aged between 18 and 20 years, and described as fat while the third attacker was skinny.
The men were believed to have escaped through Weka Pl toward Aotea Cr.
Tokoroa police Senior Sergeant Graeme Hill was appalled by the attack and called on the public to help with tracking down the trio.
"This is a cowardly and despicable attack on two elderly people minding their own business at home. I urge anyone with any information that can assist in the apprehension of these offenders to contact us."
The attack was the latest in a growing list of incidents in which Tokoroa homeowners have endured abuse and vandalism at the hands of alleyway users.
"The (South Waikato District) council must close it. I am not interested in the politics, just close it ... they must close it now, they must," Mrs Gabolinscy, who has worked at the council as a restroom attendant for 30 years, said.
"I work for council and haven't heard anything from the Mayor (Neil Sinclair) about what has happened.
"The Deputy Mayor (Jenny Shattock) could even call, but she hasn't.
"Three years ago Neil said to me that the alleyway would close and that has not happened. You know this wouldn't have happened if Gordon Blake was still the mayor, because he cared."
South Waikato Council chief executive David Hall said the council has looked at walkway closures, but this walkway was not considered a priority.
"This kind of behaviour in our community is abhorrent regardless of where on our streets it occurs. In light of recent events, council is happy to look at this walkway again, if neighbouring residents wish to ask for closure in writing we can start the formal process."
Mayor Neil Sinclair was not available for comment.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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