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Police manhunt continues after dog walker stabbed in park

Author
Nathan Morton, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Tue, 15 Nov 2022, 8:58am
A police manhunt continues for person who randomly attacked a dog walker at Bexley Reserve. Photo / Nathan Morton
A police manhunt continues for person who randomly attacked a dog walker at Bexley Reserve. Photo / Nathan Morton

Police manhunt continues after dog walker stabbed in park

Author
Nathan Morton, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Tue, 15 Nov 2022, 8:58am

A police manhunt continues in Christchurch, after the random stabbing of a man as he walked his dog early yesterday.

He was found critically injured in Bexley Park shortly before 6.30 yesterday morning by his family, after his dog had returned home without him.

The man was stabbed multiple times and discovered by members of his family, Detective Inspector Nicola Reeves says.

The victims dog returned home and alerted his family. Photo / Nathan Morton

The victims dog returned home and alerted his family. Photo / Nathan Morton

This morning the police forensics area has been removed and Pages Road is open for traffic but there is a lack of pedestrians and dog walkers at Bexley Reserve following yesterday’s assault.

‘Hopefully, they catch the offender’

One dog walker was spotted shortly after 7am at the edge of the reserve.

The walker said the perception of the park will likely change with all the rhetoric around the incident, but he doesn’t believe it’s fair.

”There’s nothing wrong with the park, [the attack] just happened to be outside it,” he said.

The walker comes to the reserve often, he said you’ll have up to six people at a time walking their dogs at the reserve after 6am - although that’s not the case today.

”Hopefully they catch the offender, you don’t expect to take your dog for a walk and get stabbed.”

Police following strong leads

Police say detectives are following strong leads, and following a number of inquiries to determine the location of the attack, and the events leading up to it.

Reeves said evidence did not suggest the attack was targeted.

They still want to hear from anyone who may have seen suspicious activity in the area, from 4am yesterday.

Motorists with dashcams who were in the area of Pages Rd or Anzac Drive around this time were also urged to review their footage.

“You may feel like the information you have is not significant, however, it could be the missing piece of the puzzle Police need to make an arrest.”

A police manhunt is underway after a dog walker was repeatedly stabbed in Bexley, Christchurch. Photo / George Heard

A police manhunt is underway after a dog walker was repeatedly stabbed in Bexley, Christchurch. Photo / George Heard

Dog walker came across the scene

The Herald spoke with a local dog-walker who had left the house with her dog for her usual morning walk, shortly after 5.45am.

At the time, she said, no emergency service vehicles were in sight on Pages Rd, Bexley.

Walking past the main entrance of the reserve, the woman noticed a car pulled into the entrance of the park and two people - one lying on the ground, the other appearing to comfort him.

There were two dogs in the car at this stage.

“She kept saying ‘it’s okay, it’s okay,’ - initially I thought it was personal, so I planned on doing my walk which takes 15 minutes and checking on them when I got back,” she said.

The woman never got the opportunity. Her walk took the typical 15 minutes and when she returned, emergency services had arrived.

Two ambulance units and police were at the entrance of the reserve shortly after 6am.

A police officer approached the woman and demanded she didn’t come through the street. She made her way home, only to learn through the news what had taken place minutes before she’d made her way down Pages Rd.

A police cordon was put in place on Pages Rd between Portchester and Farnborough streets, it remained right into the afternoon as a black police tent was set up and forensics combed the bushes near the reserve’s entrance.

The woman, whom the Herald spoke to, said dog walking is a big deal in the area, with Bexley Reserve boasting a popular dog park that is used by many.

On average, according to the woman, there would be about six people walking their dogs during the time of the incident - which she said was likely the reason police put the call out to avoid the road.

“When my husband heard the news he said to me ‘you’re not walking the dog there anymore’,” she said.

 “Because this is one of the early morning dog walkers [who was attacked], everybody is scared. There possibly will be a different perception of the park after this.”

The incident shocked other locals who live in the area. Terri Stuart, who lives further down on Pages Rd, said she’d sometimes go for walks at Bexley Reserve around dinner time.

“I’ve lived here two years and always felt it’s a safe community. Maybe it was just a freak accident,” she said.

Warren and Andria Stent live near the park and said the news of the random assault was particularly concerning given Andria goes for walks around the area regularly.

“We’ve always found this to be a particularly safe area,” Warren said. “It’s reasonably busy at the park, but apart from traffic noise we never have any trouble.”

“I just hope somebody saw the attacker and can identify him,” the dog-walking witness said.

“It’s not normal, I don’t understand it.”

Police are urging anyone with information to call 105 and quote the file number 221114/3294.

Information could also be reported online at www.police.govt.nz/use-105, using “Update My Report”, or anonymously via Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111.

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