Woman in 50s required surgery after being punched

A man who attacked four people near Queenstown in February - one of them a 70-year-old man - told Judge Michael Turner in the Queenstown District Court yesterday he had no recollection of the incident.

Simon John Windle (34), lineman, of Gore, admitted injuring Warren and Irene Thompson and David and Sue Merry with intent on February 15, following an outdoor concert at Gibbston.

Mrs Merry's right eye socket was broken in the attack.

She later required surgery and the insertion of titanium plates.

Mrs Thompson received two black eyes and Mr Thompson and Mr Merry cuts and abrasions.

Prosecuting Sergeant Ian Collin said the Thompsons were driving towards Dunedin on State Highway 6 when they pulled over at 5.45pm to adjust the load on their trailer.

Mr Thompson (70) got out of the car while his wife remained in the front passenger seat.

Windle was ''staggering down the middle of the road'', shouting and gesturing to traffic as he approached the Thompsons' vehicle.

Mr Thompson told Windle to ''sit down out of harm's way''.

Sgt Collin said Windle inquired about Mr Thompson's religion and then ''was muttering something about Allah'' before he began punching Mr Thompson's face and head. He pushed him into the driver's door with sufficient force to leave a dent.

Mrs Thompson got out of the car and told Windle to stop.

He punched her in the face, knocking her backwards, over the towbar.

Windle ran off, followed by security staff, and he encountered the Merrys, a couple in their 50s, who were walking from the concert to their vehicle.

Windle walked up to Mr Merry and threw a punch at his head.

Sgt Collin said Mr Merry ducked under the punch, but fell backwards on to the ground.

Windle then attacked Mrs Merry, punching her ''at least once'' to the face.

He was subdued by Mr Merry and others and was held on the ground until police arrived.

Sgt Collin said Windle and three friends had attended the outdoor concert, which began at 1.30pm.

During the course of the afternoon, he consumed ''a number'' of beers and a can of pre-mixed bourbon.

He also smoked a cannabis cigarette with an unknown male near the toilet block.

Windle told police he had no recollection whatsoever of the incident.

The last thing he remembered was ''going to the toilets'' and the next was being in the back of the police van.

Judge Turner convicted Windle and remanded him on bail for sentencing later this month.

He ordered a presentence report to consider home and community detention.