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Grandmother assaulted outside 24-hour service station
Police deny that the business on Swanport Road, Murray Bridge is a hot spot for anti-social behaviour, but a local family is not so sure.
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A prominent Murraylands family has been left reeling after a grandmother was assaulted outside a service station earlier this month.
Around 10pm on October 1, the woman and three of her children pulled in at a 24-hour service station on Swanport Road, Murray Bridge to pick up some fuel.
A man and woman were sitting at one of the outside tables near the door.
As the 74-year-old approached – by the family’s account – the man rose from his seat and, without warning, punched her in the face.
He allegedly lashed out at her grown children, too, who managed to restrain him until police arrived.
“It’s absolutely uncalled-for,” one of the victim’s daughters told Murray Bridge News.
“(It’s) absolute bulls*** – hitting females, hitting an elderly lady, breaking her glasses in her face.”
Worse, the family – who are Aboriginal – believe the attack may have been racially motivated.
The attacker was allegedly heard saying “you blacks need to know your place”.
“You shake your head,” the victim’s daughter said.
“I work with breaking down cultural barriers – I’ve done that all my life.
“Then this s*** happens and you think ... am I wasting my time?”
The elderly woman was taken to the Murray Bridge hospital, then on to the Royal Adelaide Hospital for an overnight stay before being discharged.
She was sore, but doing as well as could be expected, her family said.
The attacker – a 32-year-old Murray Bridge man – was granted bail ahead of a court appearance next Monday.
Servo has been ‘no worse than other areas’
Superintendent Scott Denny said police had responded to disturbances in the vicinity of the OTR service station before, both during the night and the day.
But he said it was no worse than any other area of Murray Bridge where people congregated at all hours.
“People are naturally attracted to businesses which are open 24-seven, which unfortunately – on occasions – results in people behaving poorly in public, resulting in police intervention,” he said.
“However, such behaviour represents a small proportion of the general public, and a very small proportion of reported crime.”
He encouraged anyone who witnessed anti-social behaviour to report it by calling police on 131 444.
The victim’s daughter urged everyone in the community to remain calm, despite the anger which had spread quickly as word got around about the assault.
Reprisals would help no-one, she said.
What might help, she said, was if OTR and other businesses did more to discourage people from loitering near their premises at all hours of the night.
Murray Bridge News is seeking comment from OTR.
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