A pizza driver says he could be dead but for one more hit with a rock during a robbery in Napier.
But the most shocking thing for driver and EIT student Shashi Sharma is that the 16- and 17-year-old robbers, including two girls, seemed to show no remorse.
"They did it for fun," the Domino's driver said yesterday, sporting the wounds of Friday night's attack, which was just a stone's throw from ending with the same tragic consequences as the killing of Auckland pizza delivery driver Michael Choy 15 years ago.
As a result of that horrific crime in 2001, two teenagers, 16 and 17, were sentenced to life imprisonment for murder and three other young people were jailed for manslaughter, including the then 12-year-old Bail Kurariki, who became the youngest person in New Zealand convicted of manslaughter or murder.
Mr Sharma, who came to Napier last July from his home in Haryana state in northern India to do EIT postgraduate studies in business management, considers himself lucky to have escaped with just upper cheekbone fractures and a gash in the back of the head, which meant just one night in hospital.
He said he didn't know he had been struck with a rock until he was told by police, although he knew the facial injury could not have been caused by a fist.
"I could have been hit one more time and I would be dead," he said, staunchly determined not to let the attack ruin his time in Napier, his return to work and the studies he expects to complete this year.
He said he had been told there had been no previous attacks of this type in Hawke's Bay, and strict parenting keeping younger people at home late at night meant it wouldn't happen at home in India either.
"But what's happened has happened," he said. "I can't change the course of that."
The attack took place as he went to a property in Milton Rd late on Friday night with four pizzas worth $42. During the attack that followed, as the attackers emerged from hiding in a driveway, he was struck on the head and one of the girls attempted to run him over with his own car, which was then stolen, along with his phone and the pizzas.
Mr Sharma found two people in the street who were able to call the police and an ambulance.
Police were soon able to find the vehicle in Hastings. It was in a slightly damaged condition. Mr Sharma's phone was recovered, but its data had been deleted.
Last night, Mr Sharma had still not contacted his parents and his brother and sister in India. "They would be very worried," he said.
* Two boys and two girls, aged 16 and 17 and all from Hastings, have been arrested as a result of Friday night's attack and are charged with aggravated robbery, which carries a maximum penalty of 14 years' jail.
The elder of the accused, a male and a female both aged 17, appeared in Hastings District Court yesterday and make a second appearance today, while the other two will appear in the Youth Court next month.
In 2012, two boys aged 14 and 15 appeared in Hastings Youth Court after a knifepoint robbery of a teenage pizza delivery driver, one of several robberies and other offences to which the boys were linked. Judges in Hawke's Bay have vowed teenage robbers will be treated as adults in the court system and will likely go to jail. In 2014, in Auckland, a judge amplified the point with a four-year jail sentence for a 17-year-old for his part in the aggravated robbery of a Manurewa service station, carried out with three other teenagers.