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Mother’s horror

Alix Lehmstedt with her daughter Karli in front of their house. PHOTO/KAREN COLTMAN

as child lured to stranger with lollies
Adrenaline kicks in as mum protects her child

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Alix Lehmstedt will never forget the gaunt face of the man who took off after she caught him reaching out to her three-year-old daughter, Karli, offering her lollies outside their Newall Pl house in Solway just before 4pm on Monday afternoon.

Lehmstedt had been watching Karli from her kitchen stool about five metres away from the front lounge windows when a man stopped at her gate and started to talk to the three-year-old.

Karli had asked her mum if she could go out to the car parked in the driveway to get an item from it.

The gate, which was usually shut, wasn’t on this occasion.

Lehmstedt thought Karli would be back in a couple of minutes. But then she saw Karli had moved away from the car to the end of the driveway towards the man. She saw the man move to the left of the driveway where he was no longer visible.

Then suddenly Lehmstedt couldn’t see her daughter.

This was when her adrenaline kicked in, she said.

She handed her older daughter her 10-month-old baby and ran outside.

She couldn’t see Karli but heard the man say, “come here”.

Karli had walked outside the gate and had moved towards the man who she later said had offered her a lolly.

When Alix reached her daughter, the man was reaching towards the child, his arm 20cm from her.

He stared at her briefly before turning and running off.

“He had definitely been caught off guard and I can tell a guilty face when I see one,” Lehmstedt said.

“I would’ve run after him, but I was holding Karli and had my baby and other children in the house.

“We went inside and grabbed all the kids while my friend rang 111.”

The police were on the scene quickly and Lehmstedt couldn’t commend them enough.

“They took what I said seriously and went looking for him. They knocked on all the doors in the cul-de-sac and some doors across on Fleet St.”

The police returned later that evening.

“He looked really out of it,” Lehmstedt said. “I have no tolerance for that.”

Lehmstedt and her husband Carl’s home borders an alleyway that goes to Bledisloe and Fergusson streets. She said it was a well-used path and was the direction the man came from.

Every household in Newall Pl has children, Lehmstedt said, and all the families know each other.

They also know the regulars who use the alleyway and this man wasn’t someone she recognised.

She said her husband Carl, who is normally very calm, was “ropeable”.

The unknown male is described as Caucasian, aged in his late 30s to early 40s, of skinny build with sunken cheekbones and stubble.

He was wearing a faded dark blue hoodie, black shoes, and dark track pants with zips up the side.

  • Anyone with information is asked to contact the 105 police non-emergency supporting information number. Alternatively, people can contact Crimestoppers anonymously via 0800 555 111.

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