Teen gang bash man
By DAVID MOASE
JOHN Wotherspoon's face and ribs tell the story of youth violence he says is ruining the peaceful atmosphere of Sawtell.
Mr Wotherspoon was king hit about 1am on New Year's Day while trying to stop the bashing of a 13-year-old boy near the Sawtell Surf Club.
The attack has left him with three broken ribs, a bruised lung and seven stitches in his lip, causing him to take time off work to recover from the injuries.
He says the people responsible have been causing trouble in the area for a long time, ruining the enjoyment of the beachside suburb for both locals and holiday makers.
"Sawtell's a great place and you shouldn't have to worry about walking from here at the surf club to the main street," Mr Wotherspoon said yesterday.
"The gang involved the other night come over from Toormina and are ruining a lot of things for locals and visitors.
"The Christmas street party day used to be a great event but it had to be stopped because these kids came over and started belting other kids."
Mr Wotherspoon, 45, who rents a premises at the surf club, said he had returned home from a New Year's Eve party and was enjoying a beer on the balcony about 1am when trouble started to flare.
"A group of kids grabbed a boy who was only aged about 13 and started belting him," he said.
"I called the police and went down to try to stop them.
"I said to them 'look at the size of him' and then someone just hit me from the blind side and decked me.
"He must have then driven his knee into my ribs.
"I must have let my guard down because it was New Year's Eve and when I saw them belting the little kid, but I don't care if they come here again because they won't get a second chance.
"When I was young we used to go out, have a good time and drink plenty, but we didn't go around the streets picking on little kids."
A 17-year-old was arrested and charged on Monday with assault occasioning actual bodily harm. He has been bailed to appear in Coffs Harbour Children's Court on January 30.