Bashed ex-equestrian faces long recovery

NEIL RATLEY
Last updated 05:00 29/03/2014

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A violent attack has left a former Southland equestrian trainer recovering from a fractured skull and bleeding on the brain in Christchurch Hospital.

Jeff Hill, the brother of Hurricanes player Adam Hill, was punched while waiting in a taxi line in Ashburton early last Sunday.

An 18-year-old was arrested on Wednesday.

The Hills, a well-known farming family from Gore, have rallied at the side of Jeff, who remains in the neurology department at Christchurch Hospital.

Jeff's uncle, Robbie Hill, told The Southland Times yesterday his nephew was on the road to a long recovery. "He still has some memory loss and is making slow progress," he said.

His nephew would need to head to Burwood for rehabilitation once he discharged. "He wants out now but that won't be possible."

The incident had left his nephew's wife Katie devastated, Mr Hill said.

"They have a 1-year-old son, Flynn, and are expecting another baby in May."

He said his nephew would not harm a fly and was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The Hurricanes rugby team have thrown their support behind Mr Hill and his young family.

A 2014 team jersey is being auctioned on Trade Me and the money raised will toward what is expected to be a long recovery.

Adam Hill said his brother had been diagnosed with post traumatic amnesia.

"Until this goes they cannot fully diagnose how severe the damage is. They do not know if he will be in hospital for two weeks, a month or longer."

"I'm hoping . . . I can generate money to help Katie travel from Ashburton to see Jeff in hospital or for accommodation to be close to him as well get to her regular pregnancy check-ups."

In a statement, family members thanked everyone for their "overwhelming support through this tough time". The messages of support and offers of help have been very heartwarming and helped the family immensely, they said.

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