Reverend David Barnes was finalising the details of his father’s burial at Marsden Cemetery, when he left his elderly mother and wife in his car with the engine running.
“I would usually never do that, but I literally was only going into the office for a minute.”
His 90-year-old father had died the previous evening and the family was already shaken.
But when came back to the car he was in for another “horror”. The car, which was a gift from a friend, was gone, along with his mother and wife.
“It was terrible, have you ever heard anything like that before?”
While David was organising the burial, a 15-year-old girl, who was working under supervision at the cemetery, allegedly escaped. David says the girl then saw his car and hopped in before proceeding to drive off at speed down Marsden Valley – with his family in the passenger seats.
“She took off down the road causing all kinds of mayhem,” David says.
“My mother and wife were screaming at her to stop. She was driving erratically and missing vehicles and almost crashing.”
It was only when the girl slowed at the intersection of Marsden Valley and the Ridgeway that the two women, one 87-years-old, were able to scramble out.
They then walked back the cemetery where David was only just trying to figure out what had happened.
“They are very shaken,” says David. “My mother lost her husband and then got kidnapped.”
After the women escaped the girl allegedly kept driving, eventually crashing into a power pole at Saxton roundabout. She was arrested, charged with multiple offences and will appear in Youth Court next month.
David hopes their experience might make people think twice about securing their car.
“You think ‘crumbs this would never happen here’. I would leave my keys in the ignition one time in 100. I was only ducking away for a few minutes with my mother and wife in the car. I thought it would be fine, but it wasn’t.”