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‘Get in and drive’: Woman’s terror at knifepoint abduction

Dashcam footage of the man sought

Source: Victoria Police

A mother abducted from a Melbourne shopping centre and forced to drive for hours with her baby in the car in a terrifying knifepoint ordeal has spoken of her ongoing fear.

At an emotional press conference on Friday, the woman described how she was approached by the knife-wielding man as she was getting out of her silver Suzuki S-Cross at the Stud Park Shopping Centre in Rowville, in Melbourne’s east, about 6pm last Friday.

“He just said, ‘get in your car and drive’,” the woman, who was identified only as Kieren and wept at times, said.

“I just remember begging, ‘I’ve got a daughter, you can have my car, you can have my wallet, my phone, you can take everything, just leave me with my daughter’.

“He just kept demanding, ‘I don’t want your car, I don’t want your wallet, I don’t want your phone. Just get in the car and drive’.”

Kieren was forced into the driver’s seat while the man got into the back with her six-month-old daughter.

“He said ‘just stop crying and just breathe’, and I obviously couldn’t, so I wasn’t the best driver at that moment … my daughter just kept crying in the back seat,” she said.

kieren knife robbery

Young mum Kieren says the incident has turned her life upside down. Photo: ABC TV screen grab

The man forced Kieren to drive to appliance shops, where he demanded she buy Apple laptops. The retailers were on the South Gippsland Highway in Cranbourne and another on Frankston Dandenong Road in Dandenong.

While Kieren went into each outlet, the man stayed in the car. He told her he wouldn’t hurt the baby or drive away, because he had a niece the same age.

“It was hard to believe him but I had to believe him,” she said.

Kieren described pulling over at one point to vomit. The assailant then jumped into the driver’s seat, so she moved to the back seat with her daughter.

“She luckily went to sleep, so she slept through most of it,” she said.

She also described how her husband tracked the ordeal through her phone app – until the man threw her phone from the car.

“My poor husband got an incident on his phone saying my phone was in a crash so he thought the worst,” she said.

Some of the shop staff asked if a clearly distressed Kieren was OK. But she was too scared to ask for help.

Then, about 8pm, the assailant stopped the car at a park in nearby Narre Warren South and told Kieren she and her daughter could go. He fled along the Dandenong Creek path, carrying four laptops.

Neither Kieren nor her baby were physically injured. But the young mother said she was still traumatised, and had been unable to leave her house since.

“I told myself I could be a hermit for one or two weeks, but obviously the world doesn’t stop,” she said.

“Bad things happen. But it’s a rare case and I have to tell myself that it’s very unlikely to ever happen again to me.”

She said she couldn’t face returning to the Rowville shopping centre. And she is worried her abductor might know where she lives.

“All my questions were around ‘why me?’. Like, if I had been five minutes later or earlier, if I had parked in a different spot,” she said.

“I hope he feels bad because I don’t think he realises the impact it’s had on my life. He apologised for ruining my night but it’s definitely had longer-lasting affects. It’s turned my life upside down.”

Victoria Police say the incident was “abhorrent”.

“To put a young family through a protracted and traumatic experience purely for financial gain, it baffles me that someone would behave in this manner,” Detective Senior Constable Jonathan Minehan said.

He said it was “a significantly traumatising event” for Kieren, even without any harm to her or her daughter.

Victoria Police is asking anyone with information on the man, who is of Asian appearance and aged 20-35, to contact Crime Stoppers. He was wearing a grey hoodie, green fluorescent vest and black or grey pants with black running shoes.

– with AAP

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