WHY I WAS BASHED
By ZOE SATHERLEY
NATHAN Bartolo was brutally beaten with a steel chair at a 21st birthday party on Saturday night.
Yesterday, nursing a fractured eye socket which will require reconstructive surgery, he said it was time to speak out about what he claimed is a well known group of thugs who get their kicks out of gatecrashing parties.
"This has been going on around the region for the past couple of years and it has to stop," said Nathan, who was smashed over the head with a rum bottle, kicked to the ground and had a steel chair rammed into his face.
"Everyone knows who the people responsible are. We have told the police. Now they have to be prepared to act.
"Innocent people just out enjoying themselves at parties are being attacked.
"Everyone has had enough.
"I was just standing around when this guy accused me of 'eyeballing' him. He started shoving me and the next thing I knew this girl came up and king hit me with a rum bottle. I fell to the ground and a whole pack of them started kicking and punching me.
"I tried to get away but they followed me and attacked me with a steel chair."
Nathan, 24, a timber worker at Hurfords for the past six years, has been given a week off to recuperate and seek specialist's advice about facial surgery to stop his eye socket from sinking further into his face.
He was one of four young people hospitalised with serious injuries when a 21st birthday party for Ben Perry, of Lismore, degenerated into a wild brawl in the early hours of Sunday morning.
Five police cars and two ambulances were called to the party at Lismore Showground.
The other people injured were a 20-year-old male, from Jiggi, with facial injuries, a 24-year-old Lismore woman with a suspected fractured skull and fractured jaw and severe bruising and a 24-year-old Grafton man with a fractured nose and glass fragments embedded in his badly lacerated eye. All have been released from hospital.
While no charges have been laid as yet, police investigations are continuing, said community relations officer Snr Const Michael Hogan.
Ben Perry said he was deeply saddened and upset about what had happened at his party to celebrate his 21st.
"It had been a wonderful night. Everything was going great when the fighting broke out just before 4am for no apparent reason.
"It seems you can't have a party in Lismore anymore. It's not safe.
"It wasn't an 'open invitation' party as reported in the paper. There were about 100 invited guests. There were many adults present supervising.
"Those who caused the trouble came late. They were not invited and were not welcome but they wouldn't leave.
"Now one of my best friends has been seriously injured and even my mother was punched in the face. Of course I'm upset.
"I hope the police charge those responsible."
Ben's girlfriend, Loretta Crawley, said both black and white people were involved in the brawl and both were injured.
"At one stage there were about 100 people involved in the fight - a lot of those were trying to break it up."
Ben's grandmother, Naomi Perry, of Lismore, said she had advised the family to organise security for the party.
"We were against them having the party in that venue from the start," she said.
Her husband, Neil Perry, said times had changed dramatically since his youth.
"It's not like the old days," he said.