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Chch students talk of attack injuries, 14yo traumatised by mall chase

Author
Nathan Morton, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Sat, 5 Nov 2022, 10:13am
A boarder at a private Christchurch school has recounted his experience of being beaten into concussion and his friend requiring stitches after being attacked by a group of teenagers after a basketball game. Photo / Newstalk ZB
A boarder at a private Christchurch school has recounted his experience of being beaten into concussion and his friend requiring stitches after being attacked by a group of teenagers after a basketball game. Photo / Newstalk ZB

Chch students talk of attack injuries, 14yo traumatised by mall chase

Author
Nathan Morton, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Sat, 5 Nov 2022, 10:13am

More stories have emerged of incidents involving attacks on Christchurch high school students.

A boarding student has spoken of being concussed and a friend needing stitches after an attack in Riccarton.

Meanwhile, the mother of a 14-year-old said her son will need counselling after being beaten and chased by a group of teens at a shopping mall for over an hour, after being threatened with a weapon.

Young people in Christchurch have not garnered the best of reputations in recent months, with media reporting numerous assaults involving students across the city.

A boarder at a private Christchurch school has recounted his experience of being beaten into concussion and his friend needing stitches due to an attack by a group of teenagers after a basketball game.

A boarder at a private Christchurch school has recounted his experience of being beaten into concussion and his friend needing stitches due to an attack by a group of teenagers after a basketball game.

During October, the Herald reported on numerous incidents involving teenage attacks.

An 18-year-old allegedly assaulted and killed a 61-year-old man at Cashel St Mall, two girls were allegedly beaten at a bus stop by teenagers in “a random attack” and footage did the rounds on social media showing three separate young people being beaten by teens.

Now, a boarder at a private Christchurch school has spoken of his rough encounter with teenagers in Riccarton.

The student, who the Herald has agreed not to name, said he and a friend were walking back from a game of basketball late on a night in August when a car drove past them and the occupants yelled abuse at the pair.

The students watched the car as it did a u-turn, pulled up in front of them and two teenagers “younger than 16″ got out to approach them. The verbal abuse turned to demands for money, before the teenagers beat and kicked the student and his friend.

“I don’t think they were going after the money, I think they were just looking for a fight,” said the student.

While the encounter only lasted a matter of minutes, the student ended up with injuries to his head and his friend had his glasses broken - cutting his face. Police were called and parents took the pair to Christchurch Hospital, where they were treated.

“It was pretty scary afterwards, you see a group of teenagers together and you try to get away from them. We felt we’d have to face this situation at some stage in our lives, I’d gone through bullying in the past and I knew how crazy teenagers can get.”

Both have lasting injuries - the student walked away with a minor concussion and his friend needed four stitches in his face. Family friend, Karen Nelson said when she met the boarder in the October holidays, she was surprised to see how bad a condition he was in.

“I don’t think people can imagine but this was putting the kids on the ground and putting feet to their bodies, it’s dangerous stuff,” said Nelson.

The student said he was left with lasting headaches, which caused him to drop a few papers during the mock exams as he couldn’t focus properly.

Christ's College was made aware of an attack on one of its students and boarders are banned from visiting Riccarton Mall. Photo / NewstalkZB

Christ's College was made aware of an attack on one of its students and boarders are banned from visiting Riccarton Mall. Photo / NewstalkZB

Christ’s College executive principal Garth Wynne said the school was immediately made aware of the attack and as a result, boarders are banned from visiting Riccarton Mall and when leaving for the city, students “must be at least in pairs, regardless of age”.

“Christ’s College boys in uniform have often attracted abusive comments, this means we have a heightened awareness,” he said.

A Christchurch mother came forward around the same time as the boarding student, recounting an incident that occurred to her son back in May - indicating the attacks on students have been a problem for months.

The mother, whom the Herald has also agreed not to name, spoke of her son and his friend - who attend different schools - being chased around Riccarton Mall for over an hour and threatened with a weapon.

The 14-year-old boys had just begun high school and were visiting the mall where they were approached by a group of “about eight teenagers”.

“[They] yelled out to them, they came over and started roughing them up, grabbing their clothes and then kicked them to the ground,” the mother said.

While the boys were being kicked, one offender allegedly pulled out a “metal wedge”, at which point the mother said her son and friend both ran into the mall, splitting up.

For an hour and a half, both boys were chased around the mall. One friend was taken by security to a “secure room” in the mall. However, the boy was left alone and grew worried for his mate so he ended up leaving, before discovering some of the offenders were outside the door.

The mother said they both arrived back at her house at separate times, “shaking and absolutely terrified”.

The 14-year-old boy had just begun high school when he was visiting the mall, where he was approached by a group of “about eight teenagers”. Photo / File

The 14-year-old boy had just begun high school when he was visiting the mall, where he was approached by a group of “about eight teenagers”. Photo / File

It didn’t stop there - the group allegedly ended up finding the son’s social media account that night and sent threats to “hurt and get them”. While police were involved in the incident as a weapon had been pulled during the attack, the victims felt far from safe.

“The two of them were petrified and have been traumatised ever since,” the mother told the Herald.

“It’s been horrific. Neither of them will go back to the mall anymore, I once took [my son] to the mall to look for shoes and he was looking over his back the whole time. He’s changed his image so he can’t be recognised.”

The friend, according to the mother refuses to bus to school anymore - his family live out of the city but now drop him at school each day.

“I think counselling is on the cards now, [my son] won’t come out of the house again - it’s all connotations for them.”

The two separate incidents add to a string of antisocial behaviour in the Riccarton region towards young people. It was reported in September that Christchurch Boys’ High School students were told “not to wear uniform” at the mall in case they were targeted.

A few weeks later, photos from Riccarton Mall emerged showing a 14-year-old boy getting beaten by a group of teenagers - believed to be aged between 11 and 16. The attack’s video circulated on social media and the victim’s mother said one of the offenders ended up apologising afterwards.

Riccarton councillor Tyla Harrison-Hunt was saddened to learn of the recently revealed incidents and attributed the rise in youth crime in the region to a lack of action by “multiple organisations”.

“It’ll take a massive amount of relationship building [to fix this], we need to train security guards at the mall to connect with youth at a different level,” he said.

“Only local groups know local people. Every ward is different - so we need a localised plan of attack.”

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