Its been revealed that three days before Phillip Cottrell was attacked and killed in central Wellington a 23 year old woman was attacked in Newtown Avenue (below) just 4 kms away .
She was walking along Newton Road at 9.30 pm on 7 December when she was attacked from behind and put in a headlock. She fought with her assailant and eventually managed to escape, seeking help from a passing motorist.
The story has come to light today, almost two weeks after the incident because police are seeking witnesses to the assault and want to talk to the driver who helped her. Detective Senior Sergeant Dave Thornton wants people to contact him with information.
Its odd because hours after Mr Cottrell’s beating Wellington police were at great pains to point out that the capital’s streets were safe, saying that street violence was rare in the city. Which makes the two week delay in releasing details about the assault in Newtown Avenue very peculiar, if the streets were that safe shouldn’t an unprovoked attack on a woman have elicited a more rapid response. Hasn’t the trail gone cold now and how many other women have been attacked in the meantime, how common is this in Wellington?
The day after Mr Cottrell died local newspaper, The Dominion Post, took the bull by the horns and published data that showed that violence and serious assaults have almost doubled in the city
“Serious assaults in Wellington have increased by 43 per cent in the past year.
Police are investigating the homicide of Radio New Zealand bulletins editor Phillip Alexander Cottrell, 43, who died in Wellington Hospital yesterday after he was attacked in Boulcott St about 5.30am.
Three other men were also attacked in the weekend in what police say are separate incidents.
Monthly police statistics show an increase of serious assaults resulting in injury, in either public or private places, rose from 23 in October 2010 to 33 in October this year.
The monthly reports also show an increase of public place assaults from 62 to 65 in the same time period…”
But there was no mention about the attack on Newtown Avenue, which means the press probably still hadn’t been told about it four days after it had happened.
Perhaps the public would be served better if crime was reported in a more timely manner and with less spin. At they least they should be given the opportunity to make informed choices based on facts and not aspirations.
You may also be interested in another one of our blogs from July 2010:
“Don’t the public have a right to know what is going on in their own town and the actions their public servants are taking to control that crime?
Surely it is preferable to create a safer, low crime community rather than mislead people into thinking that it is?…”
“police have decided to restrict the information on crime they provide to media in a move to “make the community feel safer”.