12 Dec 2010

Attacked police officer thought he would die

9:55 pm on 12 December 2010

A police officer attacked with a machete near Taihape is in a serious but stable condition following surgery on his wounds.

Senior Constable Bruce Mellor, 57, was attacked by two men when he stopped a stolen car at 6.23am on Saturday.

Police describe it as a horrendous and frenzied attack.

He is in Palmerston North hospital with multiple skull and facial fractures and cuts. He also lost part of one hand and has undergone surgery.


Detective Inspector Chris Bensemann says Mr Mellor came out of surgery early on Sunday morning.

He said his eyes were totally closed due to swelling.

Two teenagers, aged 18 and 14, are likely to appear in the Whanganui District Court on Monday in relation to the incident. They are charged with assault.

They also face charges related to stealing a car and attempted arson of the vehicle.

Detective Inspector Bensemann says further charges are being considered.

Minister to consider police gun recommendations

Police Minister Judith Collins has been to see Mr Mellor in hospital and says it is close to a miracle that he survived.

Ms Collins said "he told me he thought he was going to die, and frankly the report I got yesterday from police made me think he might die as well ... he said he thought that it was all over, well who wouldn't when they've got a machete being used on them".

She says Mr Mellor had lost a lot of blood before passers-by found him lying injured on the road.

The Police Minister will hear recommendations this week about greater police access to guns.

The Police Association is again calling for every officer to be armed after the incident at Taihape.

Ms Collins says she does not want to see every officer armed, but there are some cases where police could have better gun access.

She says that's particularly so for officers working alone in rural areas.

Ruapehu District Mayor Sue Morris is also calling for police to be armed so that they can protect themselves.

She says the Government must take a firm stand on protecting police officers.

Ms Morris says Mr Mellor has worked in the area for more than a decade.