Retailers won't be named out of fear
IT WAS tense but quiet in Ballina yesterday after the horrific slaying of Ballina father of two at a street-side bar in Ballina on Sunday evening.
Tattooist, Dave Newport, 40, was stabbed four times in the neck and chest while drinking at the Henry Rous Hotel.
According to police, Mr Newport had an altercation with the man charged with his murder, 24-year-old Douglas Elwin Barlow of Moree, at another hotel earlier in the evening. Barlow had followed Mr Newport to the second pub.
Several fearful shopkeepers said they felt it was only a matter of time before such a crime occurred and spoke of ongoing anti-social behaviour at night and in broad daylight.
They asked not to be named for fear of retribution.
All shopkeepers visited by The Northern Star agreed that the situation had not improved in recent years and some thought it had got worse.
They said in recent weeks a hairdresser, a cafe, a juice bar and a clothes shop had been broken into.
One reported that her traumatised 69-year-old mother had been physically bullied and threatened by three schoolgirls in uniform outside their shop one day last week and when the girls – who appeared to be intoxicated – were chased away they stole a chair.
She said she had met Mr Newport and thought he was a “tough, but good bloke” who had just recently moved from Brisbane and was excited about his new tattoo shop.
“He was excited about his family coming down and was amazed at the low rents here,” she said.
His wife and 10-year-old daughter were due to follow him from Brisbane shortly.
Richmond Local Area Command crime manager, Detective Inspector Greg Moore said police were conducting several ongoing operations and there was definitely no crime spike in Ballina – a point the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research figures reflect.
He added that Ballina was an entertainment hub and therefore more problems were to be expected compared to other towns.
Meanwhile several of Mr Newport's mates gathered at the hotel to toast their mate, where floral tributes had already been sent.
Mr Newport's shocked business partner and friends gathered outside his new tattoo shop in Ballina, struggling to come to terms with their loss.
“Dave was a great man and a well respected tattooist,” his business partner said.
“We only opened last month; I'm not sure what we will do now.”
- Shopkeepers say street crime at night is out of control.
- They say in the past two weeks a clothes shop, juice bar, and coffee shop have been broken into.
- A hairdresser's front window was also smashed.