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Hamilton ‘superhero’ dad crushed after rushing to help supermarket robbery victim

Gareth Godfrey in Waikato Hospital is being treated for a broken leg. Photo / Provided

A Good Samaritan shopkeeper who foils a daylight heist in a supermarket parking lot pays dearly for his heroism after being hit by a runaway car.

Hamilton trainee electrician Gareth Godfrey is nursing a badly broken leg and facing months of rehabilitation after rushing to the aid of an elderly customer who was allegedly robbed in broad daylight.

Godfrey, who has twice represented New Zealand in fly fishing, said he was working at the Rototuna New World supermarket when he heard a woman screaming for help.

Hamilton Sparky Gareth Godfrey, who responded to a supermarket parking robbery on Tuesday, with his wife Rose and son Cruz.  Photo / Provided
Hamilton Sparky Gareth Godfrey, who responded to a supermarket parking robbery on Tuesday, with his wife Rose and son Cruz. Photo / Provided

“I just stepped in and jumped on something that shouldn’t have happened,” said Godfrey, 41.

“It all happened so fast. I was just reacting to what was happening. I was working at New World setting up cameras and a lady started shouting, ‘My car is getting stolen, I’m getting stolen, I am assaulted.

“I just went and they were also in another car and they tried to take off. I grabbed the guy and stopped him from getting in there.”

The 41-year-old is now considered a superhero by his young son, Cruz.  Photo / Provided
The 41-year-old is now considered a superhero by his young son, Cruz. Photo / Provided

Godfrey said the striker “tried to hit me” but was determined to hold it off.

“And then the girls driving the car ran over me, right on my leg.”

Godfrey said he was left in a world of pain, as the elderly victim thanked him.

“She tried a lot to talk to me while I was hurt on the ground, but I was in so much pain I couldn’t talk to her,” Godfrey said.

“She said thank you very much but I was ready to go to another planet.”

Gareth Godrey, a two-time <a class=fly fisherman representing New Zealand, was quick to come to the elderly woman’s aid. Photo / Provided ” class=”article-media__image responsively-lazy” data-test-ui=”article-media__image”/>
Gareth Godrey, a two-time fly fisherman representing New Zealand, was quick to come to the elderly woman’s aid. Photo / Provided

Godfrey said he has since undergone surgery, with a rod surgically inserted into his mutilated right leg.

“It’s pretty bad. They basically ran over my leg and broke it. I know when I look down it’s not good. It’s going to be three months out of work I’d say. It’s what the doctor said today.”

The timing couldn’t have been worse with a professional exam scheduled in the coming weeks as he moved closer to becoming a qualified electrician, Godfrey said.

From Wellington to Auckland

Police today said the car was found more than 100km north a day later on Auckland’s north coast, with police eventually ramming the vehicle in Pukekohe. The car was reportedly stolen in Porirua on Monday evening.

A police spokesman said the incident happened when a suspected offender was interrupted while interfering with a vehicle in the parking lot of a Rototuna supermarket.

“The alleged assailant and the victim had a brief altercation. A second assailant then proceeded to assault the victim.”

According to the police, a third assailant then drove a vehicle towards a witness who tried to intervene.

“The vehicle rammed the witness, who was injured in the leg. The first assailant then began to assault the witness as he was lying on the ground.”

The spokesperson said the trio got into a car and drove off.

Shortly before 2pm yesterday, police were told the stolen vehicle had been seen over 120km north of Glenfield, Auckland.

Police said they found the vehicle, which headed south on the Northern Highway before being pinned down in Pukekohe.

A spokesman said the four occupants of the vehicle fled on foot before being caught.

A youth has been charged with wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

Another youth and an 18-year-old woman were charged with aggravated robbery.

The four people arrested were charged with illegally getting into a motor vehicle.

The group is due to appear in Hamilton Youth and District Court today.

daddy is a superhero

Godfrey’s wife Rose said she was incredibly proud of her husband, but “it was just his nature”. It was the second time he had come to the aid of a person in distress in a few weeks.

“He helped another lady at the Mad Butchers where a lady was being mugged and he broke that off about a month ago.

“But all I can say is how we described him to my son – dad is a superhero. He’s a robot now with his sticks in his leg and that’s what he says to his school friends today.”

The Waikato tradie has twice represented New Zealand in international fly fishing competitions.  Photo / Provided
The Waikato tradie has twice represented New Zealand in international fly fishing competitions. Photo / Provided

She said they had been overwhelmed by the people who had supported them since the incident and were touched by the fact that a small page had been created by another witness.

Their son Cruz celebrated his sixth birthday yesterday and in a post on social media, his sincere hope was that he would become a man like his father.