Student knocked out by attackers

An 18-year-old assaulted within two months of moving to Dunedin is seeking help to identify his attackers.

The teenager moved from Wellington in February to study at the University of Otago, and is now organising a learning aid after his right wrist and left collarbone were broken.

He was walking along Dundas St with his girlfriend about 11pm on April 17 when a glass bottle was thrown at them from a passing car.

The vehicle, a blue Subaru Impreza with tinted front windows, then stopped and three men got out.

They assaulted the young student, who was knocked unconscious.

His girlfriend's screaming alerted a member of the public, who called police and for an ambulance.

The injured teenager was taken to Dunedin Hospital and has temporarily returned to Wellington to recover at home during the mid-semester break.

He has asked to remain anonymous, fearing reprisal, but hoped someone would recognise the vehicle involved.

The incident occurred near a dairy in Dundas St, and the offenders left before police arrived.

Sergeant Ben Butterfield, of Dunedin, said there was a possibility another vehicle - a white car - may have been involved in the incident.

''It is possible that two cars stopped, so we are obviously interested in any information about the blue Impreza and the white car, which were seen heading towards Harbour Tce,'' he said.

The student remembered little of the incident and was unable to give police vehicle registration details. His girlfriend, who was not assaulted, was also from Wellington. Neither of them knew the alleged offenders.

The teenager's mother, of Wellington, said she would be ''extremely grateful'' if any information about the vehicle and its occupants was passed on to police.

''Someone may have seen it. We're not after a witch-hunt, but we want to do all we can before we let it go.''

She said the attack was ''extremely frightening'', particularly for her son's girlfriend who had to watch him being beaten.

''We are just extremely grateful that her screams brought people out, otherwise we could be sitting in a hospital with our son's brain swollen, deciding whether to turn off life-support.''

She said her son had consumed ''some'' alcohol before the incident, but she believed the attack was unprovoked.

''He certainly didn't abuse them [the men in the car].''

Dunedin police are continuing to investigate the incident.

Anyone with information about the assault or the vehicles can contact Sergeant Ben Butterfield at Dunedin Central police station on 471-4800, or provide information anonymously through the Crimestoppers line 0800-555-111.

rosie.manins@odt.co.nz

Appalling - and sadly familiar

Dismal. My partner and I had a chillingly similar experience a few years ago whilst walking past Bivouac on George Street one Friday night. A bottle flew from the passenger window of a passing car, passed between us at head height and cracked the shopfront window. Fortunately, no-one got out to set about us on that occasion.  The police were able to trace the car to a Gore address, but since they couldn't prove who was actually driving or sitting in the passenger seat, charges couldn't be lain.

Someone knows who these wasters are, and I just hope they get caught and dealt with in such a way as to make them an example to the rest.  There's no excuse for this in Dunedin, our tolerance of this behaviour should be zero and our response clear and decisive.

Based on experience to date,  I won't hold my breath. 

My best wishes to the Student and his family: I wish him a speedy recovery and hope there are no long-term ill effects for him.

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