Thugs bash girl, 9, with her bike

By Anna Leask

Anyone with information about the attack on Chenoa Gawn should contact Constable Wewege at the Wellsford police station on 09 423 8228.

Photo / Getty Images
Photo / Getty Images

A nine-year-old girl is on crutches and terrified of going anywhere on her own after she was viciously assaulted by a group of drunken thugs - in broad daylight.

Chenoa Gawn was biking home from a friend's house about 5.30pm on Thursday when she was confronted by five men in Port Albert Rd in Wellsford.

"She was only about 100m from home, she was turning 10 on Sunday and she'd got an early birthday present so she wanted to go and show her friend," said her mother, Lynette Gawn.

"She came in in tears. I asked her what was wrong and she said five guys had circled her and one of them accused her of stealing a bike. They started to take the bike off her and she went to scream, but one of the guys clamped his hand over her mouth."

Chenoa told her mother she started crying and one of the men "threw" the bike, a hand-me-down from her cousin, at her several times.

"The second they threw the bike at Chenoa she heard something crack and she didn't know if it was the bike or her knee ... She couldn't walk, she had to lean on her bike to get home.

"She was pretty shaken up. She's been on crutches since it happened. She can't put weight on her leg and she has a bruised rib."

Mrs Gawn called police and Chenoa gave a detailed description of her attackers, who she said smelled like alcohol and might have been drunk.

Police said the men were all Maori and aged in their late teens or early 20s.

The man who held Chenoa's mouth closed had short dark hair with light streaks, a scar above his left eye and another on the top of his left hand. He wore a silver chain with a cross attached and a silver earring.

The man who accused Chenoa of stealing the bike wore a black beanie and pink and black long pants. He was drunk, stumbling and slurring his words.

"The three other males did nothing," said Constable Dale Wewege. "They stood and laughed while [the second] offender was swearing and ramming the bicycle into the victim.

"The victim also noticed when the males left that two were wearing black jackets with a white skull on the back and some writing around the skull."

Chenoa told her mother that one of the men wore a jacket with the number 423 emblazoned on it in red.

Mrs Gawn hoped someone would be able to identify her daughter's attackers. "I would really love for them to be ... exposed for what they are.

"Chenoa won't walk up the road by herself any more. She's clingy, reluctant to even go to bed.

"I think it's despicable ... I'm angry. This is supposed to be a safe country town."

Wellsford police are also investigating the theft of a bike from outside the local video store the day after Chenoa was assaulted.

- NZ Herald

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