'Hero' tourist knocked unconscious while protecting stranger

7:23 am on 18 January 2019

A young Hamilton woman says a good samaritan who was brutally attacked while coming to her aid is a hero.

Charlie Tamuno says she is relieved the man who helped protect her is now recovering.

Charlie Tamuno says she is relieved the man who helped protect her is now recovering. Photo: Facebook

Charlie Tamuno said she was walking to her car after work when a man began following her in central Auckland early on Saturday.

"I was walking to my car after work, it was about five in the morning... and this guy approached me and I told 'look I've had a really long night... Can you please just leave me alone?'

"I looked back about five minutes later and noticed that he was actually following me, about 10 metres behind me."

Ms Tamuno said she reached out to a man walking nearby who agreed to help her.

"I just told him quietly 'look I think I'm being followed. So he said by who and I pointed out the guy to him and he was cool about it. He was like I'll walk you to your car and I said thank you."

But along the way, she said the man who was following her attacked the man helping her, British tourist Mike Garner.

"The guy caught up to us and started talking to us and trying to ask questions, and hand me money and then he started to insult me... [Mike] was carrying my bag, and the guy that had been following us turned to him and punched him out.

"[The offender] just looked at [Mike] and walked away. Mike was just lying on the floor with blood pouring out his face so I screamed for help first so that other people could come and call 111 and I could tend to him.

"I put him in the recovery position and at one point he stopped breathing and tried to like do CPR and the ambulance showed up and the police."

She said she wanted to be with Mr Garner in the ambulance but police said she had to make her statement. By the time she was done, hours had passed and she arrived at the hospital but with no contact information or name.

She then spent days tracking him down by posting a plea online.

She said he was "absolutely" a hero for what he did for her and his lack of hesitation to put his life in danger to defend a stranger was astounding.

When they finally spoke she apologised for dragging him into the situation.

She said Mr Garner told her he was sore, but on the mend, and did not regret helping her.

"He sort of laughed about it and said that he doesn't like the idea of people being unsafe and people being alone, and that he'd do it all again if he had to.

"It was better him than me is what he said - I thought that was pretty crazy - who would do that for a perfect stranger, and then happily do it again?"

Police are still searching for a man who attacked Mr Garner, after harrassing and stalking Ms Tamuno as she walked to her car.

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