Abduction opportunist: Police

By Amy Shanks

Police have revealed more about an incident in which a man had his 10-month-old baby unrestrained on the front passenger seat after he allegedly abducted a woman and led officers on a high-speed pursuit.

It is believed the infant was with the man when he drove past Napier Police Station on Friday in search of his ex-partner, who was inside talking to police.

"He's seen an opportunity, possibly driven past a couple of times and realised his ex-partner was inside," Hastings Senior Sergeant Dan Foley said.

The woman and a support person had given details and were about to make an official statement when he arrived.

"Police realised it was quite a serious matter at that stage. Staff were being called back to do interviews, it was all under way ... when he drove past and possibly parked up," Mr Foley said. Things took a turn for the worse when the ex-partner's support person went out to try to retrieve the baby.

"The partner didn't go outside, but her friend has gone with the intention of getting that baby.

Instead she's been dragged into the car."

She had tried to escape but was assaulted and forced back into the vehicle. Police took off after the 32-year-old, who re-appeared in Whakatu where he was seen to have argued with the kidnapped woman, before leaving her on the side of the road.

Police said as the sirens came closer the man had crashed through the gate of a private orchard at speed, losing police for long enough to abandon his car in Ngaruroro Ave.

He had then gone to a local kohanga reo and persuaded a woman there to give him a ride back to Napier, but was caught when they were stopped at a roadblock on the corner of Station Rd and Ngaruroro Ave.

He had surrendered without incident.

A Ngaruroro Ave resident came home to discover police and a strange silver vehicle in front of her property.

"I got home from shopping - it would have been about 20 to 30 minutes - to find lines of police cars. When I got closer to home I saw the child being taken from a police car and handed to a woman. I believe it was his mother's friend."

Another witness said the baby appeared to be "visibly distressed", but could not see any physical injuries.

The infant suffered only minor injuries and was given the all clear by a doctor before being reunited with his mother.

"The baby in the front passenger seat was not in a child restraint," Mr Foley said.

"There will be some charge in there to reflect the fact that he's done that because he has un-unnecessarily endangered the child. It would have been a pretty rough ride."

The man appeared in the Hastings District Court on Saturday, charged with kidnapping, two counts of male assaults female, threatening to kill, reckless driving and failing to stop for police. Police said more charges were possible.

He was remanded in custody to re-appear in the Napier District Court on August 7.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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