Reported incidences of assaults are down more than 5% over the last five years on the Northern Beaches, but that’s little comfort to Manly Observer’s newest writer, Alec, who was attacked as he popped into the office on Sunday 6 February. This was his account of the experience…
“Around 9.30pm, I parked my vehicle between Wentworth Pde and Victoria St and sleepily began gathering my possessions for an evening’s work. At that moment I heard a very angry man in his mid-twenties shouting curses and threats as he made his way south along the seafront footpath of South Steyne. This was accompanied by the banging and shattering sounds of objects apparently breaking or toppling over.
“The few pedestrians in the vicinity scattered as he approached, and in no time he had crossed the road beside me. Then, after a minute loitering near my van, he suddenly lay down at the entrance to the very building I was about to enter. One of his fists was blood-soaked.
“I kept a safe distance away and assessed the situation as I locked up my van. A couple out for an evening stroll then stopped to enquire as to his well-being, to which he responded with loud wailing and incoherent ramblings. A man out jogging also paused to assist.
“The woman then turned to ask me how long the man had been in that position, but when I replied, ‘about two minutes’, the angry man leapt up and furiously called me a liar and began shouting expletives.
“Then the situation became frenetic as the man ran into the road, narrowly missing a passing car, before laying down on the road surface, where it appeared he was pretending to be dead. A sudden downpour of torrential rain added to the mayhem as a few cars were diverted around the prone figure lying on the road.
“One of the men rang an ambulance whilst I called the police, and the woman used her umbrella to shield the man from the heavy rain.
“But, in another sudden movement, the angry man sprang to life again, lashing out and accusing us all of deliberately leading him into the road to freeze in the rain. I retreated beneath the shelter of the office entrance to escape the downpour, but the man, now incensed, followed me up the stairs.
“Then, after thumping the office front door, he turned and realised I was probably on the phone to police and demanded I disconnect the call. As I slowly walked away from him down a wheelchair ramp, he followed, kicking, punching and pushing me from behind, continually cursing and threatening.
“The jogger reappeared to try and calm him, so too the couple, but the angry man lurched back to the South Steyne seafront, kicking and punching a parked car on the way. Police arrived soon afterwards and made an arrest in a doorway behind Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream store, albeit not without further issues.”
The four witnesses made statements to arresting officers after the man was taken into custody. Dee Why Police revealed the man was initially taken to hospital to treat injuries he had sustained before being held overnight and released the following day.
Manly Observer later requested any relevant information which may impact its reporting of the story – including considerations relating to mental health – but were not made aware of any such factors and it was confirmed he had been charged with common assault.
Police confirmed the accused was a 25-year-old from Brisbane who was later also allegedly aggressive and verbally abusive towards NSW Ambulance paramedics and police. He was held in custody overnight and has been released to be appear at Manly Local Court on 21 March 2022.