Action planned after mum punched defending autistic son

ACTION TAKEN: There will be a safety review of Thomson Park including the possibility of increasing visibility from the road after Erica Godfrey was punched in the face by her son's bully. Picture Martin Hunter

Trees and shrubbery may be removed to increase visibility of Thomson Park from the road in a bid to reduce anti-social behaviour.

Police recommended the move as part of its Crime Prevention through Environmental Design principles, with the aim of providing a clear view of the skate park from the road.

Police also supported installing security cameras and better lighting at the park. Both methods have been effective at the Washington Way Skate Park and Margaret Mahy Family Playground.

It comes after South New Brighton resident Erica Godfrey was punched in the face by a 14-year-old male who had been bullying her autistic son at the skate park.

Mrs Godfrey confronted the teenager after her son Isaiah was pushed over and threatened.

Mrs Godfrey and police attended a Coastal-Burwood Community Board meeting last week about the assault, which aimed to improve safety at the park.

The community board requested city council staff carry out a safety review of the park, including assessing the need for security cameras and lighting.

It also arranged for a neighbourhood watch patrol to include the park on its visiting schedule.

Mrs Godfrey was pleased with the planned action.

“It definitely would help; it’s better than nothing. It’s good to know neighbourhood watch is going to get more involved,” she said.

Mrs Godfrey was happy with the feedback she received at the board meeting and, if nothing is done as a result, she will continue fighting to improve safety at the park.

“I have put through a request for information about how many incidences there are at Thomson Park and once the information is through I will do a petition, but I told (the community board) that I don’t want it to have to come to that.”