Assault victim still in hospital

MATTHEW LITTLEWOOD
Last updated 12:53 17/02/2014

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A Timaru man who tried to break up a fight remains in hospital after being assaulted by a group of teenage boys on Friday.

The man, 38, who declined to be named as he was "still fearful of repercussions", has been treated for concussion and facial and rib injuries.

The incident occurred about 4.30pm on Friday in the Scenic Reserve.

Timaru Sergeant Geoff McCrostie said the man attempted to break up a fight between a boy and girl, both aged 13. When he did so, the group of about a dozen boys turned on him.

Police had spoken to some of the boys, aged 13 to 15, and they were referred to Youth Aid.

Timaru man Todd Burtenshaw was driving home when he noticed the man ''lying on the ground looking in all sorts of pain''.

''There were a dozen or so boys surrounding the man. They were kicking and punching him, another dozen or so boys just stood around laughing at him,'' Mr Burtenshaw said.

''When I approached the man, the kids just ran off in all directions.''

Police arrived on the scene a few moments later, responding to information from another witness.

''The police managed to catch up with a couple of the kids. I called an ambulance, but it was taking too long, so I just drove him to hospital,'' Mr Burtenshaw said.

He said the injured man was complaining about ''pains in his ribs'' and was struggling to breathe.

''My wife stayed behind with our two kids, but they would have seen some of the assault. It's a pretty awful thing for them to witness,'' Mr Burtenshaw said.

''The man had tried to break up a fight ... he told us that a boy looked in a pretty bad state, he was bleeding everywhere. But by the time I arrived on the scene, the boy had fled, perhaps frightened for his life.''

The victim's wife was worried the incident could have been ''another Wayne Bray'' - referring to the Timaru man killed in a group assault in 2008.

''I just don't know why those boys decided to do that. It's not just our family that is reeling from it, but the other boy who got beaten up,'' the wife said.

''This sort of thing should not be happening ... it could have been so much worse. What happens if these kids get older and bigger and do even more damage later on?''

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