Flights attendants onboard an Air New Zealand flight discovered that a young girl who was travelling onboard as an unaccompanied child had been subjected to a horrific beating that allegedly included a hammer attack to her head.
The girl’s own mother has been charged with inflicting the horrendous assault on her daughter and is standing trial for assault, child neglect and perverting the course of justice.
The nine-year-old girl’s injuries were not immediately obvious because, in what prosecutors claim was an attempt to hide the assault, her face had been freshly painted with one side painted purple and other bright red.
It was only when the two flight attendants started to wipe away the paint after becoming concerned for the girl’s safety that they realised she had been badly beaten. Paramedics and police were called to meet the plane on arrival in Christchurch after a short domestic flight from Napier.
The incident occurred on June 24, 2020, but is only now coming to light as the trial begins at Napier District Court.
The girl and her siblings had been in the care of New Zealand’s child services department before being placed with their mother under social worker supervision. The day before the flight, however, prosecutors allege that the girl’s mother became extremely angry and assaulted her with bruising and cuts left across her body and face.
A hammer was used as a weapon it is alleged.
After the assault, it’s claimed the girl’s mother locked her out of the house and she had to spend the night in a wash house despite it being ‘obvious’ that she needed medical attention.
Police obtained a series of text messages the mother sent to other family members in which she said she was angry with her daughter because she believed she had stolen money from her. In another message, she admitted that she ‘smashed’ her daughter.
In order to avoid detection by social workers, the girl’s mother concocted a plan to send her daughter to another family member in Christchurch.
“But of course she had a problem… there were obvious injuries, there was bruising to the face, a laceration to the lip, bleeding in her ears… So what she did was cover [the girl’s] face in face paint. Dressed her up, made it look like fun,” the prosecutor told the court in comments reported by Stuff.
The two flight attendants told the court that they became suspicious when they noticed that the girl’s face hadn’t been painted with face paint but acrylic paint which was still wet. They also noticed dried blood in her ear and an infected lip.
They were able to wipe away the paint with warm water which revealed ‘very obvious’ bruising.
When the girl was asked if she felt safe at home, she burst into tears and had to be comforted by the flight attendants. Police were immediately alerted by the Captain and the authorities were waiting to meet the girl on arrival in Christchurch where she was taken to hospital.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.