Masterton violence sparked by booze, stress

By Nathan Crombie

Alcohol and Christmas stress have been blamed for violent incidents in several Masterton homes over the weekend.

Masterton police Sergeant Simon Irving said police attended three unrelated domestic incidents in the town since Friday night that were linked to alcohol and the traditional rise in domestic pressures at Christmas time.

"There has been quite a lot of domestic related disputes involving parents and children that seems to have been brought about by Christmas stress."

A 16-year-old boy had been drinking at his home on Friday when his stepfather arrived at the home and told him to leave the property, Mr Irving said.

The teen lashed out at his stepfather and punched him in the face, the blow leaving swelling and bruising under the man's eye.

Mr Irving said the boy also threatened to kill his stepfather before fleeing the property. Police want to talk to the boy about the incident.

Another incident involving a mother and her 13-year-old son erupted just after 10.30am on Saturday.

Mr Irving said the boy argued with his mother and had stormed out of his home, picking up a small axe on the way that he smashed once into the side of the house before running from the property. The boy was referred to Police Youth Aid.

Later the same day, a mother and her 15-year-old daughter began arguing after the girl asked to drive a family car. Neighbours had heard the shouting and screaming and called police, Mr Irving said, who helped keep the matter from escalating.

Mr Irving said alcohol also played a part in two other incidents over the weekend that involved visitors to the region.

A Wanganui man, 20, was arrested and charged with assault and wilful damage related to a violent incident that broke out about 1.30am yesterday at the McDonald's restaurant in Masterton.

Mr Irving said the man pushed a cash register over the counter and punched a security guard.

He said a police patrol had just arrived and the man, who was drunk, was arrested almost immediately.

"It's a hotspot for us, normally from about 2am when the pubs close and the patrons drift to McDonald's. As part of the preventative policing strategy, we have patrols in and around that car park at that time, and the patrol had just called there when the incident occurred."

Mr Irving said a Christchurch man, 18, was arrested about an hour later at the Whakataki Hotel at Castlepoint.

The man had been drinking for most of the day at the hotel and about 2.30am yesterday had damaged a door and broken two windows of a hotel cabin where he was staying. The man is facing charges of wilful damage.

Mr Irving said extra police would be working at Christmas and New Year's Eve in Wairarapa, with officers stationed at Riversdale and Castlepoint beaches and working at the La De Da music festival.


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