A West Coast man who sparked a
frantic search and rescue operation by diving into the
swiftly flowing Grey River in a bid to evade arrest told
police he had taken acid and thought he was Superman.
Andrew James Brooks, 34, of Cobden, recanted that statement
in the Greymouth District Court yesterday, saying through
lawyer Eymard Bradley that he had never taken drugs and was
only a moderate drinker.
Brooks was remanded on bail for sentencing on March 4 on
charges of assault and escaping from police in the early
hours of New Year's Day.
Police prosecutor Steven Greer said Brooks and two women had
misbehaved in the Railway Hotel and were being escorted out
by the diminutive 50kg female bar manager, when Brooks struck
the woman once in the face with an open palm.
Police were called to the incident and spoke to Brooks at the
nearby railway station, but he then fled to the floodwall and
was hiding among rocks by the water's edge when he was spied
Warned to come up or a police dog would be sent down to get
him, Brooks yelled: "Throw the f...g dog at me". He repeated
that several times, along with the taunt, "Come and f...g get
me, it's a nice night for a swim", before jumping in the
river, floating on his back and kicking towards the opposite
About 15m from the rocks on the other side Brooks' bravado
deserted him as he started going under the water and yelling
for help, eventually disappearing from view, resulting in the
Coastguard and rescue helicopter sweeping the river looking
for him for over 40 minutes.
After the search was unsuccessful, his family was told that
he was missing in the river, but Brooks was later located
hiding on Cobden Island.
Mr Greer said Brooks showed no remorse for the searchers or
his family, who had been told that he had drowned, saying:
"Oh well they'll get over it."
Mr Bradley said Brooks had no reason for his actions.
Ordering a probation report, Judge Gary MacAskill replied:
"No reason? Well, let's see if we can find one then."