THE HUSBAND of a man found on the road below Goondoon Street's railway bridge on New Year's Eve, claims he is the victim of a "gay hate crime".
Maioha Tokotaua - a New Zealand national who said he married the man, 25, in New Zealand - told The Observer his husband was still unconscious and has burns to about 40% of his body and face, a severely injured spine, a broken neck, two punctured lungs and four broken ribs. He fears he will never walk again.
The pair had been travelling around the country and had only been in Gladstone for a few months.
"I'm scared that I will lose my husband right now," he said.
"It's pretty disturbing. He's got 40% burns to his face and body, and we are still learning whether those burns are superficial or whether they are permanent."
"It's a hate crime against homosexuals."
He said his husband was in a critical condition in the intensive care unit of a Brisbane hospital but asked The Observer not to disclose the location of the hospital.
Mr Tokotaua believes his husband was either thrown or chased off the bridge.
Detective Senior Sergeant Chris Lindsay, acting head of Gladstone's Criminal Investigations Branch (CIB), confirmed that a man was severely burned and injured in an incident at the bridge with the burns most likely to have been caused by electrical cables above the rail line. Hospital officials have confirmed a man was flown from Gladstone to Brisbane with burns and severe injuries.
Det Snr Sgt Lindsay said police are now trying to piece together how he ended up at the bottom of the eight-metre-high Goondoon St bridge beside railway tracks. He said the CIB is currently reviewing CCTV footage from The Queens Hotel on Goondoon St in relation to the bridge incident.
He said they were looking at all possibilities, including that the man had been chased prior to falling off the bridge.
"The investigation of a third party being involved is still being investigated," he said.
Mr Tokotaua said his husband was the same man involved in a disturbance at Marley Brown Oval last year. The incident, reported by The Observer on December 26, involved the man "dancing" on top of the stadium before being talked down by police after about an hour.
Mr Tokotaua claims his husband had been chased up on to the roof. He was charged with unlawful damage, public nuisance and engaging in high-risk activity.