Officer assaulted by woman as he stopped her walking into chopper blades

A police officer was assaulted as he prevented a woman walking into the spinning rotors of the...
A police officer was assaulted as he prevented a woman walking into the spinning rotors of the rescue helicopter that had been called to take her to hospital. Photo: Nelson Marlborough Rescue Helicopter
A woman with a history of assaulting police personnel has been sentenced to supervision after she kicked and punched a constable as he stopped her from walking into the path of the spinning rotors of a rescue helicopter.

The helicopter had been called to remote Golden Bay to fly her to Nelson Hospital.

Aikiko Minematsu was warned by the police last October regarding her assaulting them, then added a doctor to the list of her victims.

The 51-year-old, who lived in Golden Bay, admitted charges in the Nelson District Court today of assaulting a police officer with intent to obstruct him and assaulting a doctor who was attending her.

On the evening of May 2 this year, Minematsu was taken by an ambulance to the Golden Bay Community Health Centre. The reason for this was suppressed on mental health grounds.

Minematsu lay unresponsive in the back of the ambulance while the ambulance crew discussed calling a helicopter to take her to Nelson Hospital.

According to the police summary of facts, Minematsu “suddenly leapt up”, ran to the ambulance door and started kicking it, demanding to be let out.

The ambulance crew let her out and she lay on the ground in the ambulance bay of the health centre as attending staff comforted her and draped a blanket over her.

The doctor she asked for was a short distance away, and as he was pointed out, Minematsu got up, ran straight towards him and tried to punch him.

She missed as the doctor ducked to avoid her, but she then kicked him and scratched his hands, causing one of them to bleed. As the doctor defended himself in the struggle, his gown was ripped from his waist to his armpit.

The police were then called and arrived at the same time as the rescue helicopter to take her to hospital.

Minematsu was sitting in a chair, not moving, but suddenly got up and tried to escape by walking rapidly towards the helicopter that had just landed on a nearby road.

Emergency services asked her to stop, but she refused and continued walking away at speed.

The attending senior constable had to grab her arm to stop her from walking into the spinning rotor blades.

She then turned and kicked the officer twice in the leg before punching him in the chest. She was then arrested, but continued assaulting the officer and tried to bite his arm.

Minematsu was later flown to Nelson Hospital.

Judge Tony Zohrab noted her lack of a previous criminal record, but added the events had been “incredibly upsetting and disturbing” for all.

He said, in sentencing Minematsu to nine months of supervision and a requirement to undertake counselling and treatment as required, if she continued to assault people trying to help her, a firmer approach would come next.

By Tracy Neal
Open Justice multimedia journalist