Bashed hitchhikers out of hospital

The two hitch-hikers allegedly attacked by a man police say had just murdered a Christchurch woman have been discharged from hospital this afternoon.

German backpacker Michaela Brandl, 28, was stabbed three times in the neck, and her Japanese-Dutch companion, Niki Honda, suffered pelvic injuries.

A 38-year old Otaki man has been charged with assault and robbery in relation to the incident on the West Coast just over a week ago.

The man, who has interim name suppression, is also accused of raping and murdering community support worker Amy Farrall in Christchurch the day before.

Generous offers of help, including free use of a campervan, have been offered to the paid attacked on the West Coast last Sunday.

Police and Victim Support set up a bank account for donations to the pair.

By 4pm today, $14,035 had been deposited into the account.

They were discharged from hospital today, a police spokesman confirmed.

The two women say they don't want to speak to the media, but Ms Honda today issued a statement via the police.

In it, she thanked New Zealand "for all the love and support" and paid tribute to her new friend, Ms Brandl, "the bravest woman I've ever met".

"I don't know what would have happened to me without her, and she has given me the greatest support to get through this. I feel so blessed that we have each other," she says.

"The letters and flowers we received at the hospital helped get us through the first intensive days.

"Now the police have informed us there has been an account opened for donations too. We feel so blessed, we don't know what to say."

Ms Honda said she had been travelling "your beautiful country" for two months before the attack and said Kiwis were "some of the nicest people in the world".

Despite her horrific ordeal, that attitude would not change, she said.

"There are bad people in every country. Maybe this was my destiny to appreciate life once again," she said.

"I am truly sorry to hear of the loss of Ms Amy Farrall. My thoughts and prayers go to her family and friends during this difficult time.

"Sometimes all of this feels like a dream, a long dream I can't wake up from. I would like to see a little bit more of New Zealand, but taking it slowly."

She also thanked everyone who had supported her and Ms Brandl, including the doctors and nurses, police, Victim Support, her family and friends.

"I couldn't go through this without them," she said.

"And I would like to thank the people who rescued us. They saved our lives. There are no words to describe the appreciation I feel. I would really like to get their names and see them."


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