Absolutely horrifying: Video evidence of Napier wheelchair user punched in head multiple times

The family of a wheelchair user punched multiple times in the head outside a Napier shop say the random attack was ”absolutely horrifying”.

Paula Barron has used a wheelchair since she was involved in a car crash, in which she suffered a brain injury, aged just six months old.

The 21-year-old still has a strong sense of independence though.

Her mother Petrina Torea told Hawke’s Bay Today Paula’s trip down to the Wycliffe shops on Oldham Ave, Onekawa, on Sunday afternoon was an example.

However, the visit left Paula with a broken nose after she received multiple blows to the head from a stranger.

“[On Sunday] she just went down to the shops to talk to her friends, which I let her go do because she needs the independence,” says Petrina.

“She has always been able to do her own thing and come back home without any incident.”

Paula, who is well known in the area, was outside the shops talking to one of her friends when she was confronted by an unknown woman, who accused her of killing her dog.

“My daughter is right-hand hemaplegic so doesn’t use her right side. How the hell does she kill a dog?”, Petrina says.

CCTV footage supplied to the family shows the woman walking away, before turning to speak to Paula and a friend.

As the woman lunged close to Paula’s face, she puts her hand up, before the woman is seen repeatedly hitting Paula about the head.

Petrina believes her friend’s disability prevented him from intervening during the assault but bystanders called the police.

Paula was treated at the scene by ambulance staff and taken to Hawke’s Bay Hospital with a broken nose, and bruised face.

Speaking to Hawke’s Bay Today on Tuesday, Paula said she found it “very scary” when the woman “got in her face”.

“All I was doing was just sitting there.”

Petrina said it was “absolutely horrifying” and couldn’t understand why the assault happened.

“It’s picking on someone who can’t defend themselves, it’s ridiculous.

“Why would you attack someone who can’t defend themselves?”

While they had never experienced such an incident, she said the family had been left shaken and Paula’s safety was “huge”.

They offered their thanks to the bystanders who stepped in to help.

A 38-year-old woman was arrested at a nearby house in relation to the attack.

She is expected to appear in the Napier District Court on Thursday where she faces a charge of common assault.

As the matter was before the courts, police could not comment further, a spokesperson said.

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