Seventy-year-old fights 'thugs'

JIM CHIPP
Last updated 15:50 03/02/2014
Watene assault
JIM CHIPP/FAIRFAX NZ

Francis Watene, 70, and wife Barbara at their Naenae home the day after he was assaulted.

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A 70-year-old assaulted outside his home in the early hours of yesterday morning didn't go down without a fight.

Detective Ben Cornelius said police were looking for three men after an attack on Francis Watene at his home in Naenae, Lower Hutt.

''One of the offenders might have an injury to the face,'' he said.

''He [Mr Watene] has defended himself when attacked by these thugs.''

Watene said his wife, Barbara, heard a soft knock at the door about 3am on Sunday when she was expecting her daughter.

''The knock on the door sounded female, very gentle,'' she said.

When she opened the door, one of the offenders told her ''Frank sent us,'' she said.

Barbara Watene closed the door and called her husband out of bed.

Francis Watene went outside to investigate and found an angry man. He managed to get in a punch before the others appeared, dragged him down and began kicking him.

''I think the other two came from behind the bushes,'' he said.

He described his attackers as mongrels and cowards.

The Watenes have fostered between 300 and 400 children and Barbara Watene has been awarded the Queens Service Model for her community work.

They said they had no idea why they had been singled out for attack.

Francis Watene suffered a fractured collarbone, bruises and needed stitches for a torn ear. Cornelius said police were looking for three Polynesian men, of solid build and ranging in height from 162cm to 184cm.

The three offenders left the area in the 4WD along Bush St towards Treadwell St.

Cornelius said there appeared to be no motive for the attack.

However, he said investigators had interviewed Francis Watene today and obtained further details on the three men who attacked him.

''It is too early to say what the motivation could have been or if it was a case of mistaken identity," Cornelius said.

 

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- The Dominion Post

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