Family struggling after freak 'super jug' attack

MATT BOWEN
Last updated 14:55 24/12/2013
PETER DRURY/Fairfax NZ

Family spokesman Matthew Bloxham, Trevor Cochrane's son-in-law, and Detective Senior Sergeant Mark Greene, of the Waikato CIB, address media.

Beer jug, arm-wrestle assault, Still Working Bar
Peter Drury/Fairfax Media
ATTACK: A beer jug similar to this is believed to have been used in the assault of Trevor Cochrane.

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The family of a man critically injured when he was struck in the head with a heavy glass jug at a Hamilton pub hope he pulls through so he can see his unborn grandchildren.

Hamilton business owner and racing supporter Trevor Cochrane was injured on Friday and remains in a critical condition at Waikato Hospital.

Family spokesman Matthew Bloxham, Cochrane’s son-in-law, said Friday should have been about celebrating Christmas with loved ones and workmates.

Instead, his family had been left with a father and partner fighting for his life.

Both of Cochrane's daughters were expecting children in February, Bloxham said.

"We're just hoping he comes to so he can see his grandchildren."

Bloxham said the family was appealing for any witnesses who hadn't yet come forward to do so.

"He's a good bugger," Bloxham said.

"Everybody else comes first with him. He's a generous, caring, top man."

Bloxham urged people to take it easy over Christmas because one act could have huge consequences.

Cochrane, 55, has been an avid supporter of up-and-coming Hamilton V8 driver Bronson Porter through his plastering business, Dinsdale Drywall 2000 Ltd.

Cochrane is also a regular at the Still Working Bar in Lynden Court at the Chartwell shopping centre where he was assaulted.

Police said staff from two companies had been drinking at different bars in Hamilton before people from both groups went on to the Lynden Court bar.

A member of the bar staff, who declined to give his name, said the two groups came in at 8.30pm and started betting on arm-wrestling matches outside. The situation suddenly flared up.

Detective Senior Sergeant Mark Greene, of the Waikato CIB, said "words had been exchanged".

Cochrane tried to calm the conflict when a heavy glass beer vessel known as a "super jug" was thrown.

Security camera footage showed it struck Cochrane on the back of the head at 9.07pm, the staff member said.

It knocked Cochrane to the ground unconscious.

At that point "there was a big rumble" to find out who did it because it happened "just like that", the staff member said.

"They tried to chase [the alleged offender] and he took off but they arrested him the next day," the barman said.

An ambulance took Cochrane to Waikato Hospital. He had suffered a critical head injury and underwent surgery to relieve pressure on his brain early on Saturday morning.

Greene said Cochrane was now in an induced coma and in "a very serious condition". Security camera footage of the assault had helped police identify a "person of interest".

Lepa Palu appeared in the Hamilton District Court yesterday in relation to the incident. He was charged with wounding with intent to injure and was released on bail.

He will reappear next year.

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