DISGRACE: How can you?
Here is what South Waikato News Facebook members thought of the attack on the Gabolinscys.
Public outrage and support following the malicious assault on Tokoroa grandparents Bob and Margaret Gabolinscy has been overwhelming.
‘‘People have blown me away. Our house is like a florist. Everyone has been very kind. It has been a busy three days,’’ Mrs Gabolinscy said on Monday.
‘‘We had a lovely fruit platter given to us. The well wishes of the people have been lovely but that’s Tokoroa isn’t it.’’
One of the well wishers to call Mrs Gabolinscy was former South Waikato Mayor Gordon Blake.
Mayor Neil Sinclair said he offered his sympathies to the couple when visiting them on Saturday because he was out of town on the Friday following the incident.
‘‘I finally got a ring from Jenny Shattock (deputy mayor) and the mayor (Neil Sinclair) showed up later that day (Saturday),’’ Mrs Gabolinscy said.
‘‘I am not proud of what I said to him but I let him have it for 10 minutes. I saw him as the only one who could fix this problem. I told him that he has no idea what it’s like. Then Bob said (to Mr Sinclair) ‘you might like to go (now)’.’’
‘‘ He ( Mr Sinclair) suggested that gates be put at either entrance of the right of way and I said ‘you’ve got to be kidding’,’’ she said.
Mrs Gabolinscy said Mr Sinclair promised to close the alleyway many years ago.
‘‘Following our discussion some years ago, the comprehensive study was conducted and Weka Place was not identified as a priority,’’ Mr Sinclair said.
Council assets group manager Roger Fisher explained the process. ‘‘ In order to progress walkway closure the council often has to confer with as many as six neighbouring properties,’’ Mr Fisher said. ‘‘But it is not only these people that are surveyed. Quite often while neighbours wish for the walkway to be closed, there are many other people who use the walkway to get to shops or schools; after all Tokoroa was designed with many walkways for this purpose.’’
Tokoroa Police Senior Sergeant Graeme Hill said police were following lines of inquiry.
Mr Hill said that the alleyway issue needed to be reviewed by the council.
‘‘Alleyways are a criminal corridor. Given what has occurred I would hope the council will address this issue.’’
Speaking on Monday evening, Mrs Gabolinscy said the pain of her injuries had worsened.
‘‘It has been very sore today and the swelling and bruising has really come through.’’
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. He asked the three men to stop but was subjected to verbal tirades.
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
– Margaret Gabolinscy as Mrs Gabolinscy again asked the men to leave.
‘‘One of them, a hefty one, came running up to me and hit me right in the eye and I flew backwards on to my parked car,’’ she said.
‘‘What has happened to us could happen to anyone. What does it say about a 21 year old hitting a 75 year old?’’
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 council must close it. I am not interested in the politics, just close it,’’ she said.
In June 2006 Mr Gabolinscy featured on the front page of the South Waikato News wanting the alleyway in question closed.
Michelle Miller: Sad to know our families are surrounded by thugs like these losers.
Sian Reid: Let’s take time to remember the poor couple. No-one deserves to be treated like that no matter what age or who they are. All love and thoughts go out to the couple for a speedy recovery.
Elise Millar: This is disgusting. How would those pricks feel if their grandmothers were punched in the face?
James Gardiner: Who punches an old lady in the face, honestly. Cowards. Hope you catch them soon.
Ryan Hicks: Tok’s not that big someone must know something!!
Millie Etimani: Tokoroa is not the same any more! Those kids obviously have no respect for their own parents to go as low as to do that!! Disgusting! GET A JOB MATE! Have some respect for yourself ... should be ashamed of yourselves!!!! Giving TOK TOWN a bad name!
Dion Collier: When they find out who these losers are they better name and shame (them)! No PC bollocks – let the public know who they are and have the shame in the community squarely sitting on their shoulders – if you think hitting elderly people makes you tough, see how you handle your name and photo on the front page of the South Waikato News!
CALLING FOR ACTION: Tokoroa grandparents Bob and Margaret Gabolinscy have been overwhelmed by the support from the community after they were assaulted last Thursday night.