Russell Halfpapp who was the victim of a coward punch in the Cairns CBD on January 19 PICTURE: ANNA ROGERS
Russell Halfpapp who was the victim of a coward punch in the Cairns CBD on January 19 PICTURE: ANNA ROGERS

‘I’m alive... I’m one of the lucky ones’

A CAIRNS man is on the road to making a miracle recovery after he was victim to a brutal coward punch outside a nightclub in the CBD.

Russell John Halfpapp (right) had been out with friends on the evening of January 19 to play some pool and have a few drinks when things took a turn for the worse.

Witnesses described seeing the 36-year-old landscape labourer being attacked outside The Woolshed on Shields St by another man about 11.40pm. He was then allegedly punched, fell to the ground and cracked his head on the pavement.

Mr Halfpapp was rushed to Cairns Hospital in a critical condition before being flown by helicopter to Townsville.

 

Russell Halfpapp who was the victim of a coward punch in the Cairns CBD on January 19 PICTURE: ANNA ROGERS
Russell Halfpapp who was the victim of a coward punch in the Cairns CBD on January 19 PICTURE: ANNA ROGERS

A 32-year-old man was charged with the more minor offence of public nuisance, to face the Cairns Magistrates Court next month.

A police spokesman said charges relating to the coward punch were imminent.

Mr Halfpapp spent three days in a coma in the Townsville Hospital Intensive Care Unit, before slowly being woken.

He suffered bleeding to the brain and has metal plates connecting the right side of his face following a facial reconstruction.

Having been discharged from hospital at the weekend, Mr Halfpapp has begun his long road to recovery.

"Mentally I'm a bit emotionally broken … but other than that I'm alive, I'm at home, which is absolutely unbelievable considering I've had the full right hand side of my face reconstructed," he said.

"I have metal plates all connecting the right hand side of my nose bone, my cheekbone and my eye socket back together. The injuries aren't the problem, I can deal with that, it's the fact that my daughter nearly lost her father, my brothers nearly lost their brother, my parents nearly lost their son.

"I don't remember the last time I read an article about someone being coward punched that they lived.

"I'm alive, I'm one of the very few lucky ones."

As well as praising the efforts of medical staff in Cairns and Townsville, Mr Halfpapp said a group of passing medical students that came to his aide had potentially saved his life.

"The only reason that I think I got lucky was because the people that came to my aide was a bunch of student doctors that happened to walk past as it happened," he said.



UPDATE: Cyclist impaled at boardwalk in stable condition

premium_icon UPDATE: Cyclist impaled at boardwalk in stable condition

The cyclist impaled last week is in a stable condition in Newcastle.

Community rallies for boy after horror accident

premium_icon Community rallies for boy after horror accident

"He is a fighter and I'm sure he will pull through this."

Fireys called to rescue 9yo near Corindi

premium_icon Fireys called to rescue 9yo near Corindi

Boy taken to hospital in third bike incident in area within past few weeks