Queenstown assault victim speaks out

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A battered victim from one of Queenstown’s latest bar assaults says he’s shocked to hear boozy attacks aren’t uncommon.

Father-of-two Mike Knight (right) needed two plates surgically inserted in his face after being randomly attacked on a night out in the resort.

Aucklander Knight, 37, suffered a shattered cheekbone and eye socket, a broken nose, damaged eye and major nerve damage after being kneed or kicked in the face by an unknown man.

His attack is the latest in a string of booze and bash incidents – and comes as a confirms Queenstown has the highest alcohol-related hospital admissions in the lower South Island.

Lakes District Hospital’s emergency department deals with twice those of Dunedin or Invercargill hospitals proportionally.

Knight – now recovering at home in Auckland – says he was shocked by the level of violence in Queenstown. 

“A police officer told me about the problems,” Knight says.

“I thought it was a nice peaceful town, I had no idea it was that bad but it sounds like this is a common thing.

“The outwardly random nature of it was what shocked me the most – an unprovoked attack.

“We’ve all been in bars and seen fights and altercations, that comes with alcohol I guess, but nothing like this.

“I wouldn’t say it’s put me off Queenstown. I won’t be going back anytime soon that’s for sure but it’s a beautiful place and after the fact everyone looked after me extremely well both there and in Invercargill.”

Workshop manager Knight was attacked in SkyBar on Camp Street at 2.45am, on Sunday, July 14 – while on holiday with his partner celebrating her birthday.

“It was definitely a knee or a kick to the face, my partner says I was pulled to the ground and kicked,” he says.

“I was unconscious for a while and can’t remember too much until the next day.

“I’m not sure if I was assisted outside, but I was found on the sidewalk with a lot of blood around.

“It’s not going to come right for some time but I can work – it’s just my face so I’ll stay out of the public eye.

“The eye seems to be coming right, it’s a little blurry still but I’ve got to get that checked out down the line. The nerve damage is the worst thing – half my face is numb, not pleasant.”

Police have reissued an appeal for information about the unprovoked assault.

Detective Lisa Watt says: “Police are concerned at the level of violence used in this unprovoked assault.

“It appears from the CCTV footage inside SkyBar that the offender pulled the victim’s head downwards and used his knee.”

Police are sourcing footage from neighbouring premises to identify his attacker.

“We’re appealing for witnesses who may be able to assist,” Watt says.

Anyone with information can call police on (03) 441 1600 or the Crime hotline 0800 555 111.