Woman held hostage at knife­point in mall

Otago Daily Times - - GENERAL -

AUCKLAND: A woman was held at knife­point for more than an hour yesterday at a South Auckland mall be­fore the al­leged of­fender dropped his weapon and was ar­rested by po­lice.

West­field Manukau was evac­u­ated af­ter a man grabbed a stranger and held a knife to her throat, spark­ing lengthy po­lice ne­go­ti­a­tions.

The 34­year­old vic­tim, of Christchurch, had been at the shop­ping mall with her daugh­ter.

Coun­ties Manukau Area Com­man­der In­spec­tor Adam Pyne said the vic­tim was not known to the of­fender and was ‘‘picked ran­domly’’.

Po­lice were called at 8.50am to the hostage sit­u­a­tion and were at the scene within min­utes, he said.

‘‘The first of­fi­cer on the scene im­me­di­ately be­gan ne­go­tia­ tions,’’ he said.

Po­lice ne­go­ti­ated for about 40 min­utes be­fore the man dropped the knife, which had a 12.5cm blade, and re­leased the vic­tim.

The knife had been held to her throat and the armed of­fend­ers squad had been called, he said.

‘‘It took a long time but even­tu­ally they were able to defuse the sit­u­a­tion,’’ he said.

‘‘The vic­tim in this mat­ter is un­der­stand­ably shaken but fortu­ nately was not harmed by the al­leged of­fender.

‘‘I want to ac­knowl­edge the brav­ery of the vic­tim in this in­ci­dent, who re­mained calm in a stress­ful and trau­matic sit­u­a­tion and we are pro­vid­ing her with all the sup­port we can.’’

The al­leged of­fender was ar­rested and will ap­pear in the Manukau District Court today charged with kid­nap­ping. — NZME

PHOTO: THE NEW ZEALAND HER­ALD

In­ci­dent . . . A ma­jor Auckland shop­ping mall was evac­u­ated yesterday when a man held a woman hostage with a knife at her throat.

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