Police investigating the brutal bashing of a 71-year-old
Kawerau woman have looked into social media rumours as they
narrow down their hunt for the attacker.
The woman suffered severe facial injuries when an intruder
barged into her home after she opened her front door in the
early hours of December 29.
Her car was stolen in the attack but was later recovered.
Many people within the mill town have taken to social media
sites to vent their frustration over the incident. A Facebook
page displayed the name of a 17-year-old, accused of being
responsible for the attack.
Detective Inspector Tim Anderson confirmed police had looked
into rumours on social media sites.
He said there were always rumours around any investigation
but without evidence, police could not put someone before the
"That sort of stuff, some of it can detract from an
investigation. In this case, it probably hasn't helped or
hindered us," he said.
"Generally speaking though, social media is a great outlet -
it's another good channel of information that we can use, and
we do like it."
Mr Anderson said police had identified a person of interest
thanks to information from the public.
However, they were still awaiting the results of a forensic
examination of the woman's car.
"We hope to have a resolution for this matter, and we're very
thankful for the assistance and information provided by the
community, mainly in Kawerau."
Mr Anderson said the victim was a strong woman who was
"determined to get along with things in a positive fashion,
despite the ordeal".
She was scheduled for surgery in Waikato Hospital in the next
week or so.
A spokesperson for the woman said she needed to have titanium
plates inserted into both eye sockets. She also required
medical attention for a split left ear, a shattered tooth
socket and a fractured jaw.
The victim has been the recipient of home baking, and offers
to mow her lawns and do her garden have flooded in, with many
more people asking what they could do to help.
Bunnings Warehouse in Whakatane has offered to donate and
install a digital door viewer, after being approached by the
The viewer, disguised as a peephole, provides a sweeping view
of the scene outside and takes a photo once the doorbell is
Bunnings said it was also prepared to donate a new front door
if the woman's door was not suitable for the viewer.