Woman 'assaulted' after helping stranger

A Queenstown woman says she was choked and attempts were made to gouge her eyes while driving a young Englishwoman she had picked up moments earlier on Christmas Day.

The victim, who asked to remain anonymous, said she and her 5-year-old grandson had attended a Christmas Eve church service in the resort and were heading home about 12.30am.

Along Glenda Dr, the woman said she noticed a truck driving down the middle of the road without lights and two men sitting on its roof.

''There was a girl running down the side of the road crying and screaming and these guys were chasing her,'' she said.

''She hid behind a building and they didn't see her.''

The woman said she pulled over and asked what the men were doing. They allegedly replied they were ''trying to find her''.

''It was so freaky; so dodgy.''

After the men drove past, the victim asked the young woman if she needed help.

The victim said the woman, who had a cut bottom lip and said her name was Mary, got into the back seat of her car, sitting directly behind her, and they drove towards the Queenstown Police Station.

''As we were driving down the road, she started going gibberish. She was obviously off it on something, but she didn't smell of alcohol.

''We went towards BP and I felt a hand go around my throat from behind.

''She knocked my glasses off and pushed her fingers into my eyes, trying to gouge them. I couldn't believe it.

''I stopped the car in the middle of Frankton Rd and she started smashing windows with her hands. I screamed into BP, blasted my horn and got her out of the car.''

The woman ran off and the victim called police, who were unable to locate her attacker.

The woman said she was physically unharmed, but was shaken and her grandson was extremely upset by the incident.

''He was crying because he was obviously frightened ... he said: `Nana, you need to go back and make sure she's safe'.''

The victim returned to the area and spotted the woman again, but police were again unable to locate her.

The victim described her as slight, with long blonde hair and aged in her early 20s.

She was wearing a cardigan and mini-skirt and had a pale complexion.

Police Southern Communications inspector John Dougherty confirmed police were called to the incident twice but no further information was available.

BP Frankton staff last night declined to comment.

tracey.roxburgh@odt.co.nz