Anna Leask

Anna Leask is senior police reporter for the New Zealand Herald.

Mother bashed in road-rage fury

Marcelle Baardt - her face scarred from the attack - and son Ryno at home yesterday. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Marcelle Baardt - her face scarred from the attack - and son Ryno at home yesterday. Photo / Brett Phibbs

A woman was bashed in front of her intellectually disabled son by an alleged drink driver in a road-rage attack.

Marcelle Baardt says she was cut and scratched on her face, chest and arms after she was dragged from her car and attacked by a woman - who was driving her own children - on Dominion Rd in Mt Roskill just after 6am yesterday.

Mrs Baardt had driven her daughter to work in Penrose about 5.30am and was on her way home when the attack happened.

Her 12-year-old son, Ryno, who has an intellectual disability, was with her.

Mrs Baardt had just turned off the Southwestern Motorway on to Dominion Rd when her ordeal began.

"A woman came from nowhere. She was behind me honking her horn vigorously and flashing her lights at me," she said.

"She started touching the back of my car with her front bumper. It gave me a hell of a fright when I felt the push."

Mrs Baardt said she pulled into a side street to get away from the woman and was trying to do a u-turn when she was rammed from behind.

"She rammed me, pushed my car over the edge of the footpath. I was in shock and I went to get out of the car to see what damage had been done.

"I didn't even get the opportunity to put one foot out of the car when she grabbed me by my clothing and pulled me out."

Mrs Baardt said the woman pulled her by the hair and began scratching at her face and chest. Ryno was left terrified in the passenger seat.

"She went for my face with her fingernails. She ripped my glasses off. I kept on screaming, 'Stop, stop, stop', and my son was hysterical. He didn't understand what was going on.

"I didn't fight back. I was yelling at her to get off me and screaming for someone to call the police. Then I was pushed to the ground. I could hear the thump of my head hitting the road. She kept on going, she kept on scratching - she was like an animal."

Mrs Baardt could smell alcohol on the woman's breath, and said she appeared to have her children in the car with her - including a teenage boy, who joined the attack.

"My son was trying to get them off me, but the guy pushed him right over. Another person ran out of a nearby house with a stick and started to beat them off me. They were like bloody dogs.

"A teenage girl was yelling at the woman, 'Mum, let's go, let's just go'.

"I managed to get loose and pulled her car keys from the ignition and put them in my pocket. I said to her, 'You're not getting away, you're going to be arrested'."

Police arrived soon after and arrested the woman. She was later released on bail but it is understood she will be charged with drink driving and assault.

Mrs Baardt and her husband, Franco, also want the teenager who pushed Ryno to be charged.

Their son was not injured, but Mrs Baardt said he was "absolutely traumatised".

Mr Baardt said the family moved from South Africa to escape violence, and he never imagined something like this would happen in New Zealand.

Mrs Baardt agreed: "In a small country like New Zealand, you don't expect this to happen ... . Now I want to pack up and move to Australia.

"I'm never driving on my own again - I'm too scared. It's ridiculous but that's how I feel.

- NZ Herald

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