A terrified Canadian woman has fled several kilometres on foot after her Australian fiance was shot dead in a carjacking in New Zealand.
Armed police are hunting an armed killer, after the Australian’s body was found in a stolen campervan in Gordonton, 80km from where the carjacking occurred on the coastal town of Raglan, on the west coast of the country’s North Island.
The 33-year-old Australian tourist, who has been identified by The Age as Sean McKinnon from Victoria, was asleep in a campervan at the Te Toto Gorge carpark in Raglan the couple were woken by a stranger banging on the window.
Mr McKinnon’s terrified fiancee, a 32-year-old Canadian woman named Bianca, who was also in the van, escaped the attack and ran several kilometres for help in the early hours of this morning. According to the woman’s social media pages, the pair got engaged in December 2017. She had been documenting various parts of their New Zealand holiday, including a visit to the Te Henga Walkway, just 45 minutes away from Auckland.
“17.53km in 5.5hrs,” the Facebook post read.
“Safe to say this was a challenge that was 100% worth the trouble for this incredible part of the world we got to explore. Even with all the mud we slipped on.”
On July 15, Mr McKinnon’s fiance posted an image to Facebook that read, “We must travel in the direction of our fear.”
The NZ Herald reports the Australian man and Canadian woman were asleep at the time of the attack. It is understood the gunman demanded their keys before shots were fired.
The woman managed to escape the gunman, and run several kilometres for help. The gunman reportedly shot the Australian man several times, and is still on the run from police.
“We’re seeking a male in regards to (the attack),” Detective Inspector Graham Pitkethley confirmed in a press conference in Hamilton.
“As more details become available, we will release that to the public who can assist us in locating him. Somewhere out in the community … someone knows who this offender is so I’m asking them to contact police immediately.”
Detective Pitkethley said the Canadian woman fled the scene on foot, and is now under the care of police.
“We are supporting the female victim who is understandably very shocked and distressed, providing her with the support and welfare that she needs,” he said.
“This is a tragic incident … Inquiries indicate that this was a random attack.”
Police confirmed the stolen vehicle — a White 2017 Toyota Hiace ZL registration KWF362 — was driven from Whaanga Rd to Gordonton Rd this morning. The 80km journey takes about 75 minutes to drive.
A spokesperson from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said in a statement to news.com.au they were providing assistance to an Australian family.
“The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is providing consular assistance, in accordance with the Consular Services Charter, to the family of an Australian man who died in New Zealand,” the statement read.
Detective Pitkethley said the alerted police of the incident at 3.20am, however didn’t confirm if she had sustained any injuries.
“We are still working through in regards to injuries that she may or may not have obtained during the ordeal,” he said.
“The terrain where the vehicle was stolen is quite rough with a lot of bush around.”
Police believed it was random attack by a sole offender, who would be known to members of his community.
There was nothing to indicate that drugs or alcohol were relevant to the fatal shooting at this early stage.
“The offender is still outstanding,” Detective Pitkethley said.
“At this stage all I can say is we’re looking for a male.”