Man with knife in mall drama

Weekend Herald - - News - Chelsea Boyle

A 30-year-old man will ap­pear in the Manukau Dis­trict Court this morn­ing on a kid­nap­ping charge af­ter a woman was held at knife-point at a South Auck­land mall, po­lice said.

West­field Manukau was evac­u­ated af­ter a man grabbed a stranger and al­legedly held a knife to her throat. The vic­tim, from Christchurch, 34, had been with her daugh­ter at the mall, where wit­nesses be­lieved the al­ter­ca­tion started as early as 8.30am.

Coun­ties Manukau Area Com­man­der In­spec­tor Adam Pyne said the vic­tim was not known to the al­leged of­fender and was “picked ran­domly”.

Po­lice ar­rived min­utes af­ter they

were called to a hostage sit­u­a­tion at 8.50am and the Armed Of­fend­ers Squad was also called, Pyne said.

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

“It took a long time but even­tu­ally they were able to dif­fuse the sit­u­a­tion,” he said.

“The vic­tim in this mat­ter is un­der­stand­ably shaken but for­tu­nately was not harmed . . .”

It was ob­vi­ously a dis­tress­ing sit­u­a­tion, he said.

“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.”

Pyne said the in­ci­dent was un­usual.

“I’ve not known this sit­u­a­tion be­fore . . . it’s not a com­mon thing at all.”

Mall se­cu­rity spoke to the al­leged of­fender prior to the mall open­ing, he said.

“When he grabbed the vic­tim se­cu­rity helped evac­u­ate the food court and then the wider mall.”

A man was ac­cused of kid­nap af­ter a woman was grabbed at West­field Manukau yes­ter­day.

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