North Shore Attacks, Trial Starts

In January of 2008 two particularly brutal and seemingly unprovoked attacks took place in North Shore, Auckland.

A young couple Ericka Rancourt, 21, and Oskar Carroll, 25, were minding their own business and quietly walking home in Lake Rd at around 4am on the 15th when they were viciously attacked by a gang of men. Ericka was so badly injured that she needed brain surgery.

Just hours before a Russian couple, Denis Khotchenko and his girlfriend Lera Nesterova were sitting in their car in Milford when they were set upon, allegedly by the same gang. They were beaten with a baseball bat, Ms Nesterova’s eye socket and one of her fingers was broken before she managed to escape by swimming the Milford inlet to find refuge in the home of a local resident. Mr Khotchenko was also injured and beaten around the head.

Also on the same evening there was said to be an attack on a boy on Takapuna beach but it is unclear if this is included in this trial.

At the time of the attacks press reports stated that four Glenfield youths and a youth from Piha were arrested in connection with the attack on the two couples.

Today the trial of the accused began: Piri Valli Kirton, 18, Harlem Haynui Kirton 19, Jono Paul Wilson, 20, and Ruaumoko Taiapa, 21, are jointly charged with aggravated robbery, causing grievous bodily harm, injuring with intent to injure, and assault with intent to rob.

Taiapa is also charged with one count of injuring with intent to injure (source New Zealand Herald)

This trial is going to attract a lot of attention – unprovoked attacks in North Shore are relatively uncommon events and many feel revulsion at the injuries the victims received, especially the women. At the time there was some speculation about the attacks being linked to a gang expansion bid. See : “Savage attacks linked to gang expansion bid