Woman who claims drink was spiked at Wellington bar commended for going to police

Police are investigating an alleged drink spiking incident at a Wellington bar after a 20-year-old woman claims she was drugged by a man.

Bryanna Lingley. Source: Supplied

Visiting from the Coromandel, Bryanna Lingley came to Wellington to celebrate a friend’s birthday.

On Saturday at 11:30pm, Lingley said the only thing she remembers is lining up outside Lulu Bar and a dark-haired man offering her a drink, then “everything went black”.

Two hours later, Sophie Barclay and her friend came across Lingley on Courtenay Place when she saw her fall over.

“She was all by herself, so we went and helped her,” she said.

Barclay said Lingley didn’t show the usual signs of being intoxicated.

“Drunk people are usually energetic, Bryanna was very confused and didn’t know who she was,” she said.

Barclay told 1 NEWS she stayed with Lingley for over an hour and called her phone contacts to find out her address.

“I didn’t feel comfortable leaving her by herself,” she said.

Eventually, Lingley remembered an address and Barclay escorted her home safely in an Uber at 3am.

Lingley said she didn’t wake up until 3pm on Sunday.

“My first reaction was I’ve been drugged,” she said.

Lingley said she was drinking responsibly and hadn’t taken any recreational drugs.

“I’ve never experienced anything like this before, I was shocked, it was so disorientating,” she said.

She wanted to get drug tested, but said she was too shaken by the experience.

“I felt disgusted, I thought to myself, have I been sexually assaulted?” 

Thursdays in Black Aotearoa national co-ordinator Jahla Lawrence said drink spiking is a method used for sexual assault and victims can suffer from emotional consequences such as shock, self-blame and loss of self-esteem.

“Most people don’t get drug tested because victims often feel ambiguity and uncertainty as to whether they were actually spiked,” Lawrence said.

Lulu Bar owner Mat Lear said he’s extremely disappointed at what happened, and commended Lingley's bravery for coming forward.

“We are still seeing incidents like this occur in a number of venues around Wellington,” he said.

However, a police spokesperson said they’re not aware of any other incidents but want to remind people to be cautious.

“Never accept drinks from a stranger, and don’t leave your drink unattended,” the spokesperson said.

Lawrence said that people often do not report possible spikings because they felt “like it wasn’t severe enough, shame and fear of being disbelieved”.

Hospitality New Zealand spokesperson, Matt Mclaughlin said staff at more than 200 Wellington bars have been trained for these specific situations to intervene and respond.

Lingley’s case is currently under investigation, but she is still in disbelief.

“It just blows my mind, how dare you, how can someone have the ability to do that to another human?” she said.