There’s an unease in my neighbourhood tonight. Not a fear for safety by any means, but an unsettling feeling nonetheless.
Our weekend started with crime on our doorstep. And I was a witness as a man lay helpless fighting for his life in a garden bed at the end of the street.
Even today, three days on, a divot lined with blood remains in the chip bark. It’s surrounded by torn packets of medical supplies. It’s a graphic reminder of what played out just before midnight on Friday.
But today, even with that as context, as the pieces of the puzzle started to come together, it felt like things went up a notch.
The details are truly shocking.
Police alleged in court today that this was pre-meditated sadistic torture on an innocent passer-by by a group of well-educated private school students.
Just moments earlier, we’d heard aggressive shouting from the apartment they’d been staying in. What was that about? What was it in that rage that led to a man being on the edge of death just minutes later.
The Magistrate conceded the alleged attack had been planned, given the main attacker had donned a mask and gloves to conceal his identity.
This happened less than 50 metres from the front entrance to the building.
I can’t help but ask why?
From my balcony, I heard the ferocious blows being landed. One after the other. I’ve covered elite boxing ringside as a sports journalist. These were the same sounds.
I then watched the group go back to the apartment complex they were staying in, before fleeing. Some were laughing. It sickens me to think back on it.
Today I saw some video of the group as they returned. In it I can clearly hear one of the males in the group shouting “you’re a fucking idiot NAME WITHHELD”.
I wish I could name him. That is suppressed because of their age. Perhaps that’s even more disturbing. Young men capable of such extreme, pre-meditated yet unprovoked violence.
I realised things were particularly serious when I heard one of them say “he’s just slashed him”.
Not even that could prepare me for what I was to confront when I ran down to the man moments later.
I knew he’d been cut. There was so much blood on his face and on his hands. I wasn’t sure if he was even still alive.
Before I went to bed on Friday I penned my thoughts for my website.
In response, on Sunday morning I received an email from the man’s brother. We have been in touch a few times since and he has kept me updated on his condition.
I won’t name him but he has given me permission to reference our communication.
It started as a thank you note. That was very humbling. I’d like to think me going downstairs to check on his brother was what anyone in my situation would do.
He told me that his brother is “a very passive man who certainly would not have brought this attack on himself.”
He confirmed to me that his brother had been stabbed in the eye and has lost sight in it.
He underwent 10 hours of reconstructive surgery on his face over the weekend. That’s just the start of his journey. His psychological scars will no doubt run deeper as time unfolds.
This has already taken a significant toll on the man’s immediate family. They’re struggling to come to terms with what happened.
In an email this afternoon he told me: “We are obviously shocked that people would be capable of something so violent and senseless with little regard for human life.”
We all are. And all should be. None of this makes any sense.
My thoughts and prayers are with him and his family.