How we broke the story.
How we broke the story.

Police hope to identify thugs

POLICE hope they will be able to identify some of the young thugs who punched and kicked a 15-year-old girl at Stockland Rockhampton on Thursday evening.

Acting Detective Senior Sergeant Jim Edwards said yesterday officers were studying CCTV recordings of the brutal gang assault.

“We are hopeful of a quick result from this investigation,” the Child Protection Investigation Unit officer said. “We hope to identify the attackers from the footage.”

The young victim told in yesterday’s Morning Bulletin how she was set upon for no apparent reason by a group of about 20 teenagers.

The assault was initiated by a girl who struck the first blows.

But after that other members of the gang took it in turns to punch and kick the helpless girl who cowered behind a security guard.

The victim’s grandmother, Erica Walker, says she has made a formal complaint to Stockland management alleging that security staff initially made no attempt to protect the girl or to intervene as she lay on the ground being kicked.

Detective Edwards said although such a sustained attack was rare, assaults in shopping centres happened from time to time and Stockland was no different.

“We are asking for the public’s assistance to solve this crime,” he said. “Anyone with information about the attack, or who knows those who took part, should contact the unit on 4932 3579.

The girl says she was first verbally abused by the gang inside the centre and was then physically assaulted outside, near the entrance to The Rock Building Society at about 8.30pm.

The story sparked a strong response from readers yesterday.

Comments online at the Bulletin’s website made the point that parents had to take firm control of their teenage children and the courts had to take firmer action with young thugs.

One reader said it had become a nightmare to try to avoid gangs of rude, crude and offensive teens and the authorities had to act to solve a problem that was forcing people to stay away from shopping centres.

The victim, who was treated by paramedics after the assault and was described as traumatised by the experience, continues to recover at her Rockhampton home. She was interviewed by police on Saturday.

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