Visitor's nose broken in street attack

Frenchwoman Morgane Thomas at the Dunedin Police Station yesterday. Photo by Gregor Richardson.
Frenchwoman Morgane Thomas at the Dunedin Police Station yesterday. Photo by Gregor Richardson.

A visitor who says her nose was broken by another woman's punch after she had been in Dunedin only an hour has criticised police for their actions afterwards.

Morgane Thomas (24), of France, said she was with her Tongan boyfriend and visiting Dunedin for the first time.

The couple were visiting her boyfriend's brother and the brother's girlfriend on Friday night.

Ms Thomas said she and her boyfriend arrived in Dunedin about 11pm and the group had a meal and a glass of wine.

They were heading home about midnight when they were approached by two women and two men in Heriot Row, she said.

Ms Thomas said a drunk blonde woman in the group pulled up the dress of the other woman in her group and taunted her bearded boyfriend with words such as ''Mohammed'' and ''terrorist'' .

When she asked the woman to ''act like a lady and move on'' the woman threatened violence, she said.

''It was quite stressful for me,'' Miss Thomas said, crying.

''She pushed me and punched me, so I punched her back and the other girl came behind my back and punched me and broke my nose. I fell on the ground and they kicked me.''

She said the attackers fled and her boyfriend's brother called police as Ms Thomas lay on the ground with a broken nose, a black eye and a heavily bruised back.

When police arrived, an officer took them in a patrol car and after a search located the men on the street and the two women hiding in bushes, she said.

The woman told police they were hiding because they were scared of Ms Thomas.

''They were three times my size,'' Ms Thomas said.

Police told her the women posed no risk and refused to take any statements from her or witnesses, Ms Thomas said.

The police then left with both groups in the street, she said.

''I was quite upset and I still am.''

After not hearing from police, she went to the station on Sunday to make a statement.

Many people had witnessed the assault and police had not contacted any of them for statements, she said.

''I just want the police to do something because these people are dangerous.''

She planned to leave Dunedin today and was not expecting to hear from police.

Dunedin area response manager Senior Sergeant Darryl Lennane said police attended the incident and versions of events given to police varied.

Six other people had witnessed the incident, he said.

''Given the complexities of this, police took the details of those present so that statements could be taken at a later point.''

After the alleged assault, friends of Ms Thomas told police they would help her get medical attention.

''To ensure her safety, police also stayed with Ms Thomas and her friends until the other party had dispersed.''

Police took all reports of assault seriously and the matter was being pursued, Snr Sgt Lennane said.

shawn.mcavinue@odt.co.nz

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