Gareth Godfrey at Waikato Hospital being treated for a broken leg. The attached photo
A good Samaritan merchant who foils a daytime supermarket robbery pays a heavy price for his heroism after being run over by a getaway car.
Gareth Godfrey, a trained electrician in Hamilton, nurses his severely broken leg and faces months of rehab after rushing in with the help of an elderly shopper who was allegedly robbed in broad daylight.
Godfrey, who has twice represented New Zealand in fly fishing, said he was working at a Rototona New World supermarket when he heard a woman screaming for help.
“I just stood up and jumped on something that had to happen,” said Godfrey, 41.
“It all happened so quickly. I just reacted to what was happening. I was working in New World and putting up cameras and a lady started screaming, ‘My car is being burgled, I am being robbed, I am being assaulted.'”
“I just went and they were in another car too and they tried to take off. I grabbed the guy and stopped him from getting in there.”
Godfrey said the striker “tried to take some swing at me” but was determined to hold on to him.
“And then I ran over the girls who were driving right above my leg.”
Godfrey said he was left in a world full of pain, while the elderly victim thanked him.
“She tried to talk to me a lot when I was on the floor injured but I was in so much pain and couldn’t talk to her,” Godfrey said.
“She said thank you very much but I was ready to go to another planet.”
Godfrey said he has since undergone surgery, with a rod surgically inserted into his disfigured right leg.
“It’s too bad. They basically run over and smash my leg. I know when I look down, it’s not good. I’m going to say it’s going to be three months of no work, I say. That’s what the doctor said today.”
Godfrey said the timing couldn’t be worse with a trade test scheduled in the coming weeks as he gets closer to becoming a qualified electrician.
From Wellington to Auckland
Police said today that the car was found more than 100 kilometers north the next day on Auckland’s North Shore as police eventually shot the car in Boqueco. The car was allegedly stolen from Purirewa on Monday evening.
A police spokesman said the incident occurred when an alleged criminal was interrupted by entering a car in the parking lot of Rototona supermarket.
“The alleged perpetrator and victim got into a short argument. Then the second offender started assaulting the victim.”
Police said the third offender then drove a car toward a witness who tried to intervene.
“The car collided with the witness, who was wounded in the leg. Then the first perpetrator started assaulting the witness while he was lying on the ground,” he added.
The spokesman said the three got into a car and left.
Just before 2pm yesterday, police were informed that the stolen car was seen more than 120 kilometers north in Glenfield, Auckland.
Police said they found the vehicle, which was heading south on the northern highway before hitting a fork in Boqueco.
A spokesman for the car said that the four occupants of the car fled on foot before they were arrested.
One young man was charged with wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.
Another young man and an 18-year-old woman were charged with aggravated burglary.
The four people arrested were charged with illegal riding in a car.
The group is set to appear at Hamilton Youth and County Courts today.
My dad is a super hero
Godfrey’s wife Rose said she was incredibly proud of her husband but “that was just his nature”. This was the second time he had come to help someone in distress in a matter of weeks.
“He helped another lady out at Mad Butchers where a lady was assaulted and that broke about a month or so ago.
“But all I can say is how we describe it to my son – my dad is a superhero. He’s a robot now with bars in his leg and that’s what he’s telling his classmates today.”
She said they have been overwhelmed by people who have reached out to support them since the accident and felt that another witness had opened a small page.
Their son Cruz celebrated his sixth birthday yesterday, and on a social media post, it was her heartfelt hope that he would grow up to be a man just like his father.