NEW LIFE: Simon Pederson and Naomi Roberts, with their nine-month-old daughter Taylah, are getting on with life again after the vicious attack last year.
NEW LIFE: Simon Pederson and Naomi Roberts, with their nine-month-old daughter Taylah, are getting on with life again after the vicious attack last year. Jacklyn Wagner

One hit from death

DARRYL Pederson remembers the phone call, the people and the blood.

"It was a scary night, that one - standing there holding his hand while the doctor was trying to stitch him up," he said.

His son, Simon, had a fractured skull, fractured cheek, fractured eye socket and bleeding on the brain after Ulli Jansen smashed his head with a iron bar off the main street of Kyogle.

Simon was on the ground, one hit from death.

His partner, Naomi Roberts, was at home six months pregnant.

Jansen had run away.

The entire Pederson family has relived the evening repeatedly over the past year while waiting for the courts to finish with the attacker.

Yesterday Jansen, a 22-year-old Kyogle father of three, was sentenced in Lismore District Court to four years and six months' jail over the attack.

Jansen was arrested nine days after the incident and has been in custody since May 14, 2007.

Earlier this year he changed his plea to guilty to charges of malicious wounding and intent to do grievous bodily harm, but yesterday his barrister argued the attack was in self defence.

The attempt to justify hitting an unarmed man three times was dismissed by the judge and by the Pedersons.

"I didn't go into the court case, even though I was there at the scene after it happened," Mr Pederson said.

"I got a call from my nephew Kurt and was there within five minutes. He was going to hit him another time but Kurt dragged him off and then chased him, but he got away.

"It was probably only 400 metres from where I live. Simon was almost home.

"There were people everywhere and blood. Simon was on the ground and had a T-shirt over his eye. I'm not a doctor, but I could tell he had a fractured skull."

Simon, a Kyogle Bush Turkeys first grade rugby league player, was still recovering from ligament damage when Jansen put him out for the season.

"I just got off crutches that day. I still had a brace from my ankle to my hip; I couldn't run," he said.

"He was coming to hit my mate, so I half calmed him down and he dropped it.

"I turned my back and got on the phone. I don't remember calling.

"Blokes were holding my head together."

Simon was treated soon after by a Kyogle doctor.

"When I first got hit, they gave me 17 stitches," he said.

"(The doctor) said I needed 70 stitches, but he could see the crack in my skull, so he just patched me up to get me to Lismore.

"I went to Lismore at 5am and the Gold Coast by Saturday lunch."

Simon remained in hospital for two weeks. He needed three titanium plates and 24 screws surgically implanted in his head.

He spent the rest of the 2007 season on the sidelines, but remarkably has worked his way back into first grade and was instrumental in Kyogle's early 2008 season success in the Retravision Northern League.

Watching the stocky hooker score a try and set up two others to engineer a comeback win over Ballina early this month gave no indication of his ordeal - or the scale of his comeback.

He doesn't even wear headgear.

"I wore the headgear in a trial against Casino, but 10 minutes in it was just too hot, so I took it off," the 21-year-old said.

"The doctors gave me a critical period of six months, because I had a bleed on the brain.

"They assure me that if I get knocked out, nothing's going to happen.

"It's as strong as your head.

"If I get hit hard enough to break something, it would be hard enough to break your head."

But the nasty scar on his forehead wasn't the only damage done.

His father said the lengthy legal proceedings had added to the pain.

"He (Jansen) could've pleaded guilty 12 months ago," Mr Pederson said.

"He's caused a lot of heartache.

"It has certainly affected Simon.

"He's a different kid.

"His attitude and behaviour is different.

"It's something that always hangs above your head."

Jansen was given a non-parole period of three years and four months and could be eligible for release in September 2010.

Mr Pederson said it wasn't for him to comment on the sentence.

"What do you say?" he said.

"I'm not the law.

"It's something you don't know what is right and wrong. But a couple of millimetres either way and it could've been a different outcome.

Regardless of its severity, Mr Pederson said the sentence would help bring closure for Simon who, as the proud father of nine-month-old daughter Taylah and in the final year of a fitter's apprenticeship at the Casino Meatworks, has more positive things on his mind.

"I just want to get over it and get it behind us," Mr Pederson said.

"It's something for Simon, that we can say this chapter is finished and to get on with it.

"Close that chapter."


Bid to reopen Kimberley Kampers hits big snag

premium_icon Bid to reopen Kimberley Kampers hits big snag

Is this the end for this Ballina business?

Desperate mission to catch turkey shot with an arrow

premium_icon Desperate mission to catch turkey shot with an arrow

The brush turkey has been seen with an arrow through its body

Sister says relationship 'broken' after Universal Medicine

premium_icon Sister says relationship 'broken' after Universal Medicine

Witness 'horrified' over 'chakra-puncture' therapy  

Local Partners