By ANGELA GREGORY

WHANGAREI - A paraplegic man fled from an attacker in his Whangarei home by wheelchair, pushing himself more than half a kilometre down city roads while still bleeding from his wounds.

The police have been criticised for a slow response to the incident, which led to the arrest of a 37-year-old Whangarei woman who faces assault charges.

The 32-year-old victim, whose injuries included stab wounds, was in a stable condition at Whangarei Hospital.

The man had arrived at the Maunu Superette about 6.20 pm on Saturday after pushing himself from his home a few hundred metres away with his attacker in pursuit.

The superette owner, Lallu Patel, said the man wheeled himself in with a scratch on his face wanting someone to call the police.

He said he had been attacked by the woman who followed him into the shop abusing him.

Mr Patel said he did not want to get involved.

"My wife rang the police, who took a long time getting down all the details.

"It was holding us up because we couldn't use the Eftpos."

Mr Patel said the man gave up waiting and headed off in his wheelchair.

He said he would take himself to the police station, nearly a kilometre away.

The woman left the shop in the opposite direction.

Mr Patel's wife, Nalini, said the man had been calling out: "She stabbed me, she stabbed me."

His hand was bleeding and there was a puddle of blood on the shop floor below the counter.

Mrs Patel said the police had told her: "If he comes back give us a ring again."

The Patels were surprised that the police did not take immediate action, and that they were interviewed only yesterday morning.

Three hundred metres down Water St, the victim stopped again, at a Shell service station.

A service station worker, Tai Pitman, said the police had to be rung twice because they were so slow after the paraplegic man turned up.

Mr Pitman said the man was "not looking too good and not moving too fast."

He had asked for help.

"He was bleeding and had mud over his face and cuts. He said he had been stabbed in his arm and by his mouth, and hit with pot plants."

Mr Pitman rang the police and said a man had been attacked.

"They said they knew who he was."

Mr Pitman said it was taking too long for the police to arrive and another worker made a second call.

He estimated the police turned up about 10 minutes after the first call.

"The guy in the wheelchair was saying the police were pretty slack."

Detective Sergeant Warren Moetera said confusion about the paraplegic's location and concerns that the alleged attacker was "still running around" had caused a delay.

The Patels had rung the police at 6.21 pm and the paraplegic was located 17 minutes later, he said.

The police have said that the alleged attacker lived with the victim.

She will appear in the Whangarei District Court today charged with wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, assault with intent to injure, and assault with a weapon.