Gutless coward hands himself in

Just as well Walter George Tauatevalu handed himself in last night, I wouldn’t have wanted to have been in his boots when the cops finally caught up with him if he had stayed on the run.

For sure he was going to trip up some steps or something, they can be slippery you know.

The colleagues of a police officer kicked and beaten unconscious by a man in a violent attack in south Auckland are “traumatised” a senior police officer says.

The 42-year-old police officer with 15 years experience in the police force was attacked in Otara about 11.20pm last night after he pulled over a car with a man and woman inside.

He was taken to Middlemore Hospital with serious injuries to his face and throat, but had since been transferred to Auckland City Hospital for specialist treatment.

At a press conference this afternoon, Detective Inspector Jim Gallagher said the officer had been told there was a disturbance at the Manukau Sports Bowl and was driving in the area when he was waved down and told that a woman was in trouble in a car.

He found and followed the car before stopping it on Sandrine Ave and talking to the driver and then to the female passenger.

However as he was speaking to the passenger he was “struck from behind with a powerful blow from a fist”.

”He was dropped to the ground and punched and kicked profusely for what seems to be a lengthy period of time,” Gallagher said.

Gallagher said if it were not for two women who came to the officer’s aid, the result could have been much worse.

The two women, who were friends of the female passenger, got in between the attacker and the officer. He however continued to “rain blows to his head while on the ground”.

The officer was left in a “very severe state of unconsciousness with laboured breathing” and was bleeding from the head.

He would require “extensive surgery over several months to come”.

Gallagher said the women “put themselves in the line of fire of a very violent individual” and had the attack continued unabated the consequences could have been fatal.

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