Queenstown assault victim calls for prison term

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An Australian king-hit in a vicious assault in Queenstown says he hopes his attacker does a stint in prison.

Aaron Rice-Williams, 27, was punched from behind and fell face-first on to the pavement outside a burger bar early on Saturday.

His attacker, who the victim described as having an English accent, then repeatedly punched him as he lay unconscious.

”It started with a bit of sledging,” Rice-Williams says.

”There were three of them trying to goad me into a fight. Then one’s got behind me and king-hit me.”

The Adelaide man, who was on the first week of a five-year trip around the world, was left with a cut eyebrow and black eye, bruising and swelling on his ear and neck.

Rice-Williams spent the night in Lakes District Hospital but was discharged the next morning.

Police are appealing for anyone with information about the assault to come forward and have released a CCTV image.

It happened at 2.45am outside Devil Burger eatery.

Police describe the attacker as about 178cm tall with dark hair, wearing a dark T-shirt and dark skinny jeans.

Rice-Williams said his attacker ”hit me from behind and then I’m told landed three or four punches when I was on the floor.

”It’s a pretty dog thing to do and back home people are pushing for a mandatory prison sentence for things like this, because one punch can kill someone, and from behind more so than ever.

”So I’d want him caught and do a nice stint in jail before he’s deported.”

But Rice-Williams, a 196cm (6ft 5in) basketball ”addict”, record label owner and property developer, is not letting the attack ruin his trip.

”You’ve got to be philosophical about it. It could be a lot worse,” he said.

”And the community of Queenstown has been great, really supportive.

”Everyone has said something like this shouldn’t have happened. I’ve been given free coffees in cafes and people have been great.”

Acting Sergeant Jason Reid said yesterday morning there were no suspects as yet.

Anyone with information should contact Detective Matt Jones at Queenstown Police Station on 03 441 1600.

UPDATE: Police arrested a UK national, 24, at 5.20pm last night. He has been charged with injuring with intent to injure. 

paul.taylor@scene.co.nz