By Wilhelmina Shrimpton
Police have praised the efforts of a young woman who managed to fend off an attacker in West Auckland last night.
The 26-year-old was assaulted by a man just metres from the Sunnyvale Train Station, but fought back and managed to escape.
Noreen Roudon's nightmare started when she got off the western-bound train and headed up the walkway.
"I heard footsteps behind me, so I thought there was someone behind me,” she says. “I kept walking and they kind of got closer, [so] I sped up and they sped up and when I slowed down they slowed down.”
The man then attacked her from behind, and tried to force her to the ground.
"At one point I stopped to pretend scratch my ankle so that they could move to the side, and then they didn't, so I turned around to see what was happening and that's when he grabbed me.”
But the decision to not back down meant the 26-year-old could break free.
"I think I dropped my bag and then I just started yelling, swearing at him, scratched his face, punched him. Yeah, just fighting. I kicked him about two times."
It was a bold move, which police describe as a “gutsy display of courage”.
"She was very brave to take on this guy,” says Sergeant Michael Hough of the Henderson Police. “Obviously she would have been dreading every fearful thing that she could, but she got away with something that could have been more serious."
Police say the attack was unusual given the area and that it was still quite light at 7:40pm that evening.
"The walkway here is open and frequented by many, many people and this is probably the first and most serious thing that I’ve noticed here while working here in the neighbourhood police centre,” says Sgt Hough.
Police are now appealing for any information about the man, whom they describe as Pacific Island or Indian in his late 20s to early 30s, with scratch marks on his face.