Woman taken hostage in mall

The Dominion Post - - News -

A woman es­caped un­harmed af­ter an armed stranger grabbed her and held her hostage in an Auck­land shop­ping mall for 90 min­utes yes­ter­day.

Video from the scene showed po­lice sur­round­ing an ag­i­tated man, who held what po­lice be­lieve to be a five-inch blade to the neck of a woman in the West­field Manukau City Shop­ping Cen­tre.

Po­lice have ar­rested and charged a 30-year-old man with kid­nap­ping in re­la­tion to the in­ci­dent.

Fur­ther footage showed of­fi­cers out­side the build­ing clos­ing in on the in­ci­dent, near the Burger King in the food court, just af­ter 9am yes­ter­day.

The as­sailant had an arm around the woman’s throat and was hold­ing the knife to her neck with his other hand.

The hostage was cry­ing. Coun­ties Manukau area com­man­der In­spec­tor Adam Pyne con­firmed the 34-year-old vic­tim was un­known to the of­fender.

‘‘This was a very dis­tress­ing in­ci­dent for the vic­tim and ex­tremely hard for her.’’

The woman was from Christchurch and had been at the shop­ping mall with her teenage daugh­ter, Pyne said.

‘‘We’re of­fer­ing the vic­tim all the sup­port we can and she was ex­tremely brave and man­aged to re­main calm.’’

Pyne said no threats were made by the man.

Po­lice staff ne­go­ti­ated with the of­fender for about 40 min­utes be­fore he dropped his knife on the ground and re­leased the vic­tim.

The of­fender was im­me­di­ately ap­pre­hended and taken into cus­tody with­out fur­ther in­ci­dent, Pyne said.

A woman who took footage from out­side the build­ing, said the man had al­ready taken the woman hostage when she ar­rived at 8.55am.

‘‘When I first saw what was hap­pen­ing, I thought, ‘this is a sick joke, a guy want­ing at­ten­tion’.

‘‘I started tak­ing it se­ri­ously when I could see the woman cry­ing and her daugh­ter was watch­ing ev­ery­thing next to me.’’

She said the daugh­ter was cry­ing as well. ‘‘I was just hop­ing the woman didn’t get hurt.’’

A food court worker said it un­folded when a mid­dle-aged man en­tered the food court in an ag­i­tated, ap­par­ently drunk and dis­ori­ented state.

The mall was evac­u­ated at 9am but re­opened around noon.

A woman be­ing held hostage at the West­field mall in Manukau, Auck­land.

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