A German tourist whose internet relationship turned out to be anything but romantic has warned of the dangers of travelling across the world to meet a stranger after spending a week in a Dunedin man's home she described as a "horror house".
Maja, a 36-year-old musician from Leipzig, was at the centre of a police armed offenders squad search in a Garfield Ave house on Saturday.
The drama teacher and mother of one last night told the Otago Daily Times she knew as soon as she arrived in Dunedin on February 8 she had made a mistake.
She said the man who met her at the airport was not the 33-year-old PhD student she had struck up an internet relationship with in October through his Myspace page, but an unkempt, unemployed 54-year-old.
The man yesterday contacted the Otago Daily Times and said his name was Peter Robb.
Mr Robb said he believed the police had made up the reason for the AOS callout and information officers provided to the newspaper was incorrect.
He said he had been the victim of substantial criminal harassment and abuse from the Dunedin police and others for several years.
"The Dunedin police have set you up in an elaborate farce, it would appear."
Maja said she contacted Mr Robb because his page appeared as though he was part of an advertisement for New Zealand.
She had been looking for South Island contacts and he seemed to have the same interests as her.
It was only later she learned Mr Robb had super-imposed a photo of himself appearing about 20 years younger into the advertisement.
Mr Robb began emailing her frequently, sending her eloquent emails and poetry until slowly the relationship turned romantic.
"He was quite intellectual and he knew the way to my heart," Maja said.
It was not until after she had bought tickets to New Zealand that she became concerned he was emailing too often.
"But I had already booked the flight and it took all the money I have and he said you can live here in my house for bed and breakfast and he would help me meet people and find work. It sounds very good. I never thought he was really lying. Maybe I'm stupid in that case, or naive."
When she arrived in Dunedin she was alarmed when he rushed up to her, gave her a large hug and a too-friendly kiss and hurried her to his car.
"He had such a creepy aura. I was in shock."
Not knowing what to do, she went with him to his central Dunedin home.
"His home was really a horror house, I would say. Little roosters, cats and chickens lived in the house. There was a lot of cartons and dust and rubbish. You could not walk up the stairs and there was an ugly smell, a dead animal smell, and an ugly smell [of] old clothes."
Maja said she became more afraid as Mr Robb disclosed more about himself to her.
"He was really out of reality. He lived in a complete fantasy world. I was totally afraid because he said there was no electricity there so we only had the candles at night."
At night he took off his clothes and lay down in the same bed with her.
"I had all my clothes on and these dirty sheets around me . . . I realised in that moment it was too much."
She called the one person she knew in Dunedin, a man she met on the plane, and said she was not well.
"But I couldn't speak too much because he was listening. I put much energy in keeping him calm to make him not nervous. He was really afraid that someone would come in and that I'd tell someone I was not okay."
She said he later told her he had weapons in the house, but she saw only one weapon, an old fencing sword.
Maja said she stayed at the house because he would not allow her to take her passport when she left the house, he left with her and brought her home, listened in on her telephone calls and shouted at her.
But part of her also wanted to stay because she was a part-time social worker and she was fascinated to learn how a person became that way, she said. She also did not have enough money to stay in accommodation for the whole visit.
Knowing things were not right, she tried to let the man she met on the plane know something was wrong.
When she did not meet him as arranged on Thursday he contacted the police, who called out the AOS to enter the house on Saturday night.
But the pair were not home, because Mr Robb had insisted he take her to Kaikoura for several nights, which, she believed, was planned to keep her away from the other tourist.
When they arrived home about midnight, the police were waiting and when she realised they were there to take her to safety she was relieved.
Police have said the man will not be prosecuted.