Josh Gower, 22, is comforted by his mother, Sue-Anne Gower, after the attack in Lismore on Saturday night.
Josh Gower, 22, is comforted by his mother, Sue-Anne Gower, after the attack in Lismore on Saturday night. The Northern Star

Our streets not safe

WITH his arm in a temporary plaster cast, wrapped tightly in bandages and supported by a sling, Josh Gower did not want to contemplate the thought he might never play his prized guitar again.

But that could be a reality for the 22-year-old, who was attacked walking to his car after Saturday's Lantern Parade.

Mr Gower, who suffers from Asperger's syndrome, is on heavy pain medication with a fractured jaw, bruises to his head and a fractured wrist.

He started the evening with excitement as he carried a lantern boat in the parade.

However, about 8.20pm he was grabbed from behind by a man carrying a toddler while he was walking past the skateboard ramps in Market Street.

Mr Gower had only been in Lismore since Friday and was appalled something like this could happen with so many people around.

"Everyone was leaving the festival and there were a lot of people around," Mr Gower said.

"When I was walking back to the car, a guy grabbed me from behind with a kid in his arms. He was saying I'd stolen a phone and he wouldn't let me go.

"He had his arm wrapped around my neck in a headlock and I told him to let go of me. Someone patted me down while this was happening and told the guy I didn't have a phone, but he didn't let go of me.

"He was still holding on to the child, so I didn't do much, but I punched him in the side so he'd let me go. I got away from him and his friend came over and I swung at him and he punched me in the face. He then grabbed me, slammed me on to the ground, pulled my arm behind me and put his foot on my head to hold me down.

"They left me alone and took off down the street. I thought about it for a second and then decided to chase them down to find out who they were and to get some details from them."

Mr Gower said when he approached the family, the wife of the man pushed him away and said it was all just a mistake.

"Her husband was going to have another go, but she told him to leave it alone," Mr Gower said.

Mr Gower has been playing the guitar for 10 years and enjoys busking and playing gigs. He has an appointment with a surgeon in a week to find out the extent of the injury to his wrist.

"They say I might not get full function back in my left wrist," he said. "It has upset me. I didn't do anything to deserve this and everyone just stood around and watched this happen to me."

Richmond Local Area Command crime manager Detective Inspector Steve Clarke said there had been a number of serious assaults, particularly around Lismore.

"Police have made as number of significant arrests after recent assaults with assistance from the public," Det Insp Clarke said.

He said people could stay safe by walking in a group in well-lit, populated areas, not drink too much and use public transport.

"We will continue to deploy our resources in the key identified hot spot areas and police will continue to work very hard with the community to combat these sorts of crimes," he said.

Police are seeking witnesses to the incident. Call Lismore police on 6626 0599 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.


Plan to build new preschool for 60 kids

premium_icon Plan to build new preschool for 60 kids

Concerns have been raised over the $850,000 facility

Gynecologist accused of sex assault to face court

Gynecologist accused of sex assault to face court

The former Lismore doctor is facing 69 charges

Grand reopening planned for iconic Lismore shop

premium_icon Grand reopening planned for iconic Lismore shop

4am starts and late nights have all been worth it

Local Partners