Anna Leask

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

Victim wants to thank his 'angel'

A man who had his neck broken during a brutal attack in an Auckland park might have died or been left paralysed if not for the help of a stranger.

The victim, who must wear a neck brace until at least January, has been told he is lucky to be alive. Photo / Sarah Ivey
The victim, who must wear a neck brace until at least January, has been told he is lucky to be alive. Photo / Sarah Ivey

A man who had his neck broken during a brutal attack in an Auckland park might have died or been left paralysed if not for the help of a stranger.

Now he wants to find that stranger and thank him for saving his life.

The man, who spoke to the Herald on the condition his name was not published, was badly beaten on November 14 in Kingsland.

He went to Nixon Park with a man and woman he knew and had run into unexpectedly earlier that night.

Police said the trio were drinking in the park and then things turned nasty after a disagreement.

The man pushed the victim from behind and stomped hard on his neck before running off with the woman.

They left the victim lying seriously injured in the middle of Central Rd.

Some time after, the victim was helped into a car by a stranger and taken to hospital.

"I blacked out ... I don't know how long I was lying there. I can just remember someone picking me up. I was really pleased to see someone," the victim said.

"I didn't think I had a broken neck. I thought I'd hurt my shoulder. He said 'we better get you out of here' and took me to hospital, but I was in too much pain to see his face."

"We got to the hospital and he pulled up at the door. I think he spoke to the nurse and then they brought a stretcher out. He left pretty quickly."

The victim was examined and doctors delivered the terrifying news that his neck was badly broken.

"I just started crying. My first thought was that I was going to be paralysed. They said they needed to operate and that there were risks ... that I might not recover. The next morning they took me down into surgery. I'm not out of the woods yet ... but they are pretty optimistic."

The man underwent emergency surgery to insert a plate and three screws into his neck.

He was discharged on Sunday but must wear a hard collar until at least January 10 and is on blood thinning medication to prevent clots on his brain as a result of a major vein in his neck being badly damaged in the attack.

"My doctor told me I was lucky to be alive. If he'd hit my head again I could have had a blood clot to my brain and I wouldn't be here," he said.

The victim credits the person who rushed him to hospital with saving his life and ability to walk.

"He kept my mind off the pain. He talked to me the whole way to the hospital. I can't remember everything he said but he was encouraging me, saying 'you're going to be all right mate'.

"I feel like he's my angel ... I didn't get a chance to thank him properly. I would really like him to come forward. I have a lot of gratitude towards him. I'd like to meet him, to thank him."

The man who helped was European, possibly in his 30s and driving a white car. Police have also appealed for the person to come forward.

The victim's mother also wanted to thank the man who helped, and applauded his effort.

"When the police rang me they said [my son] was very lucky - lucky to be walking and very lucky to be alive. It was devastating to get that call ... it was horrible," she said.

Constable Jason Hong Goo said a man had been charged in relation to the attack and had appeared in the Auckland District Court facing charges of wounding with intent to injure and theft.

- NZ Herald

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_a2 at 31 Jul 2014 13:20:11 Processing Time: 360ms