Passenger fought to protect baby in terrifying 180km/h kidnapping ordeal

By Anna Ferrickanna -
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Natasha Brocklebank, left, and Tessa Rollinson speak of the anguish of a kidnapping incident in August this year. Photo / Glenn Taylor
Natasha Brocklebank, left, and Tessa Rollinson speak of the anguish of a kidnapping incident in August this year. Photo / Glenn Taylor

A passenger travelling 180km/h in a car put her feet against the dash as she fought to protect herself and a 15-month-old baby unsecured in the front seat.

Natasha Brocklebank yesterday spoke of the horror of the kidnapping ordeal for the first time - three days after Charlie Ngapera, 32, was sentenced to two years and seven months imprisonment after pleading guilty to charges of kidnapping, assault, reckless driving and threatening to kill.

Ms Brocklebank, 24, and her friend Tessa Rollinson, 21, who is Ngapera's ex-partner, have been left paranoid and anxious by the fraught incident.

The court heard that Ngapera had gone to Ms Rollinson's home on the night of August 1 and an argument ensued.

The dispute escalated the following day and she eventually went to the police station.

"I was standing there asking for help, asking them to go and get the baby cause I knew he would take off with him, I knew he wouldn't muck around. They were just standing there, even when Charlie turned up outside," Ms Rollinson said.

Ngapera followed her to the police station with their baby son in the car but was met instead by Ms Brocklebank who attempted to get the baby out of the car.

"I was standing on the footpath with one foot in the car and trying to get the baby, but I lost my balance and ended up in the car. He sped off so I shut the door," Ms Brocklebank said.

The car then reached speeds of up to 180km/h.

Ngapera and Ms Rollinson's baby son was unsecured in the front of the car as Ngapera threatened to take them "down with him".

"It was terrifying, it was a life or death experience. I had my feet up on the dashboard to protect myself in case he crashed, he was going that fast. I was trying to get the baby onto my lap and put him under my seat belt."

Ms Rollinson said she did not want to dwell on the events of that day but it was purely luck that Ngapera did not crash.

"He got lucky that day. If they'd died or been seriously injured it would have turned out very differently." Ms Brocklebank still has scars from when she tried to escape the car after Ngapera briefly pulled over.

"I just fought for my life for about 10 minutes.

"I knew if he got me into that boot I was gone so there was no way, it was like adrenalin just kicked in."

Ngapera took off after hearing sirens, violently sweeping the baby from the front seat to the passenger seat.

"Tash managed to hold him off until police caught up, she should be commended," said Ms Rollinson.

The chase ended when Ngapera pulled over in Whakatu and was found at a police stop.

Neither were present at Ngapera's sentencing and said they were originally told he would be facing three-and-a-half years imprisonment.

"At the end of day I think it was not treated as seriously as it should have been. We feel a bit ripped off not being able to have a say in court. I wish our side had got across a bit more, no one knows the effects it has had on us," Ms Rollinson said .

"Where's his remorse to us?" Ms Brocklebank asked.

"We've been left to pick up the pieces."

Ms Rollinson said she and Ms Brocklebank were in regular contact with the police and the courts up until Ngapera's guilty plea.

Tessa Rollinson and her child.
Tessa Rollinson and her child.

"After that it was like they dropped us.

"Like they didn't need us anymore. I heard from them about three times total and was sent a food package, but we don't want the material stuff, we want the help."

The women say they feel the court case has centred around Ngapera.

"It's good that he's getting help but we're the victims and there's two sides to every story.

"This whole situation has just played with my head, I've got walls up now, I'm untrusting of people. My son was scared of males up until about a month ago, he was really traumatised. Where's the help for him?"

Ms Brocklebank says she still suffers from paranoia stemming from the incident.

"I always see a car that looks like his and it just brings back the anxiety, my heart races."

The women said they would have liked the opportunity to be more involved with the court process.

Ms Rollinson now has a protection order out against Ngapera but said she would like to speak to him.

"I'm left wondering what state of mind he is in, I've heard all this stuff from court but I want to know if it's genuine, it would put my mind at peace."

She said she had not thought too much about when he is released from prison but doesn't think he would do the same thing again.

"I'm unsure, I don't think he would do anything like that again but who knows. Actions speak louder than words."

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