POLICE are hunting a group of men who launched a cowardly, new-year attack on an innocent passerby in Armidale.
The serious assault has marred the otherwise good behaviour of most of the region’s revellers during celebrations to bring in the new year.
The 25-year-old local man was walking home near the corner of Markham and Donnelly streets just after 4am yesterday when the incident unfolded.
Armidale police Inspector Roger Best said the man recalled hearing a voice from behind him.
“He was struck from behind and fell to the ground before he was set upon by two to three men,” he said.
The victim managed to make it to the police station where he raised the alarm.
He suffered a fractured jaw and required five stitches to his head and was yesterday flown to John Hunter Hospital in Newcastle for emergency surgery.
Inspector Best said police were trying to piece together what happened.
“This is a cowardly act, attacking a person from behind, where it would appear the offenders didn’t even give the victim an opportunity to defend himself,” he said,
“It’s imperative that anyone who saw anything related to this incident or anyone acting suspiciously to come forward because they may hold a crucial piece of the puzzle in the police investigation.”
Detectives have taken over the investigation and are examining nearby security surveillance. The 25-year-old victim was wearing a white T-shirt and black jeans.
“Police believe he had previously been enjoying New Year’s Eve festivities at the Wicklow Hotel,” Inspector Best said.
“The victim was quite disorientated and police are appealing for any witnesses that could give further details to this offence to please come forward and contact Armidale police or Crime Stoppers.”
Police praise region’s revellers
POLICE have praised the behaviour of locals who gave officers a relatively trouble-free night.
There were plenty of onlookers at the Armidale fireworks spectacular with only a handful of incidents recorded.
“One man was charged with offensive conduct, a minor was detected consuming alcohol and a number of move-on directions were also issued,” Armiadle Inspector Roger Best said.
In Tamworth, police said it was one of the quieter ones in recent years.
“There were a couple of incidents in Gunnedah where two men, a 32-year-old and 20-year-old, failed to quit a licensed premises and were removed by police and issued with $550 fines,” Oxley Acting Inspector Martin Burke said.
“We can only take heart from the good results and the good behaviour by all during the New Year’s Eve celebrations.
“So let’s hope the message is slowly starting to sink in.”
It was a similar story in Moree where revellers toed the line for much of the night.
“Police have praised the behaviour of most of the community who were well-behaved and celebrated in a law-abiding manner,” Inspector Stuart Campbell said.