A Wellington resident is furious after she witnessed a worker from a locksmiths allegedly dumping a bucket of water on a vulnerable homeless person.
Violet Wilson-Baird told the Herald that while waiting for her bus near the Lock Doctor on Courtenay Pl she witnessed the worker pouring water all over the homeless woman and her bedding around 4.30pm last Wednesday.
However, the Lock Doctor owner Bruce Smith insists that Wilson-Baird's version of the event was different to what his employee told him.
"It's not as bad as everyone has made it out to be," he told the Herald.
Wilson-Baird said she saw the woman outside the shop beforehand, holding a sign asking for money.
"All of a sudden I heard a lot of yelling and a man yelling 'F**k off, f*** off' and I heard a woman yelling back telling him to stop.
"I saw some water splashing and the woman was all wet."
As the incident escalated, Wilson-Baird was concerned for the woman and thought about intervening.
"Because I saw this I got closer as it didn't seem to settle down and I thought 'do I need to go in and get in between this, it this something that needs to be broken up?'."
But as she got closer, things started to settle until the man unexpectedly dumped the rest of the water on the homeless woman's things, Wilson-Baird claimed.
"Things started to cool down and then I saw the man take the bucket of water and pour it all over this woman's bedding including a sleeping bag she was sleeping on," she said.
"I was horrified at that point, I couldn't believe he would do that.
"I was very shocked and angry ... There is no doubt in my mind that it was deliberate."
Two men then approached the worker and told the man he needed to stop. The worker responded by angrily shouting "You need to get jobs, this is my job", Wilson-Baird said.
After the incident, the homeless woman told Wilson-Baird "I'm going to be very cold tonight."
The Lock Doctor owner told his staff's version of the altercation, insisting that his staff member was washing windows when the incident unravelled.
"[The staff member] was busy washing windows and he asked this girl to move, who was sitting on the ground begging.
"She refused so he's continued washing windows. Then she grabbed the bucket of water he had, he lets that go and she's copped the bulk of the water and then turned around and tried to throw the water at him. He stepped aside and another member of the public who was waiting for some keys got wet."
Afterwards, the Lock Doctor owner said a person known to the homeless woman who was involved in the incident returned and poured juice on the employee and a customer.
"One of her mates has turned up and thrown juice all over him while he was trying to cut a key for a customer," Smith said.
"Our machinery has worn the juice, he's worn it, and so has the customer."
Wilson-Baird said after sharing a post on Facebook many commented that the same man has been known to dump water on homeless people.
"I understand there is tension between businesses and the homeless community," she said.
"I'm really worried that there is an underlying culture in Wellington that allows people to be violent towards the Wellington homeless community.
"They need to be able to exist without violence in broad daylight. If that's happening in daylight, what's happening at night."
Both Lock Doctor employees also confirmed they often had problems with homeless people in the area.
Police confirmed they received a call about the altercation from the locksmith, as well as an unidentified woman.