$ 100K FOR JUS­TICE

Ex­clu­sive Re­ward of­fered to find cop cow­ard puncher

Townsville Bulletin - - FRONT PAGE - CHRIS McMA­HON

A DECADE af­ter a po­lice­woman was left with per­ma­nent fa­cial dam­age fol­low­ing a cow­ard punch at­tack, a $ 100,000 re­ward has been of­fered to find her at­tacker.

Early on July 4, 2007, then Con­sta­ble Tenelle Lus­combe and her part­ner rushed to Flin­ders St re­spond­ing to re­ports of a brawl in a carpark.

What they found were 80 peo­ple fight­ing and, while try­ing to break up the brawl, Con­sta­ble Lus­combe was felled by a cow­ard punch that has changed her life. The now Se­nior Con­sta­ble lives with a metal plate in her face and a haunt­ing mem­ory of the as­sault.

A DECADE af­ter a po­lice­woman was king hit and left with per­ma­nent fa­cial dam­age, a $ 100,000 re­ward has been of­fered in an at­tempt to find her at­tacker.

In the early hours of July 4, 2007, Con­sta­ble Tenelle Lus­combe and her part­ner rushed to Flin­ders St, fol­low­ing re­ports of a brawl in a carpark.

What they found were about 80 peo­ple fight­ing and while try­ing to break up the brawl, Con­sta­ble Lus­combe was king hit, a punch that has changed her life.

Now, 10 years later, po­lice are of­fer­ing a $ 100,000 re­ward for in­for­ma­tion that leads to an ar­rest and con­vic­tion of the at­tacker who left, the now Se­nior Con­sta­ble with a metal plate in her face and the haunt­ing mem­ory of the as­sault.

Se­nior Con­sta­ble Lus­combe, now based in Weipa, spoke to the Bul­letin about the at­tack that changed her life.

“I still re­mem­ber it very vividly,” she said.

“We got a call for a dis­tur­bance on Flin­ders St, but when we got in there, the carpark across from the night­clubs, was just full of peo­ple fight­ing, I reckon 60 to 80 peo­ple, just spot fights ev­ery­where,” she said.

“My part­ner and I were try­ing to stop some fights and I was talk­ing to some­one and some­one reached around me and started up­per­cut­ting the guy who I was talk­ing to and I got pushed out of that lit­tle fight.

“Then I just felt a smack to the head. I had no idea what had hap­pened. It knocked me back a cou­ple of steps and I crouched down and re­alised I’d been hit.”

Sen- Con­sta­ble Lus­combe was forced to un­dergo fa­cial re­con­struc­tion that has left her with nerve dam­age.

“I had a frac­tured eye socket, a frac­tured cheek bone, the floor of my eye socket was shat­tered and there was a frac­ture in my jaw,” she said

“The en­tire right side of my face was ba­si­cally frac­tured.

“I had to have an op­er­a­tion which re­quired 26 staples over the top of my head and they in­serted six plates and so many screws to hold it, which is still in there right now and I still have nerve dam­age in my face that gets pins and nee­dles still.

“I try to move on. It doesn’t af­fect the job I do. I don’t hes­i­tate to go into any sit­u­a­tion be­cause of it, but cer­tainly when I do think of it, I still get up­set.

“I was 26 when it hap­pened, I was new to the job. For that to hap­pen to a young fe­male new to her job, it’s pretty up­set­ting and pretty dev­as­tat­ing. It shouldn’t hap­pen.”

Sen- Con­sta­ble Lus­combe said she needed clo­sure and wanted the per­son who hit her to come for­ward.

“I’m as­sum­ing they’ve got a con­science and they might want to clear that up,” SenCon­sta­ble Lus­combe said.

“It’s been 10 years and they’ve been car­ry­ing that around with them.

“It would be nice for any­one to come for­ward with in­for­ma­tion … I’d like to know, just for clo­sure, who did it.

“Some­one out there knows in­for­ma­tion about it.”

Townsville CIB de­tec­tive Sergeant Kay Os­born is lead­ing the in­ves­ti­ga­tion and said po­lice had never stopped in­ves­ti­gat­ing the hor­rific as­sault and were keen to get new in­for­ma­tion.

“We have got to do ev­ery­thing we pos­si­bly can to get a re­sult, and po­ten­tially some of the peo­ple in­volved might not be the type to come for­ward of their own vo­li­tion,” Sgt Os­born said.

“How­ever if you dan­gle a car­rot in front of them, it might as­sist.

“Ab­so­lutely there are peo­ple out there who know the per­son who has done this. I am ap­peal­ing to them now, come for­ward, clear your con­science.”

Po­lice Min­is­ter Mark Ryan said he hoped the re­ward would prompt some­one to give in­for­ma­tion.

“Se­nior Con­sta­ble Lus­combe was sim­ply do­ing her job” Mr Ryan said.

“I have ap­proved this re­ward in the hope that it will prompt some­one out there in the com­mu­nity who has been sit­ting on in­for­ma­tion about this case for years to fi­nally come for­ward.”

Any­one with in­for­ma­tion is asked to con­tact Crime Stop­pers on 1800 333 000.

Pic­ture: JUSTIN BRIERTY

BLACK AND BLUE: Se­nior Con­sta­ble Tenelle Lus­combe af­ter the at­tack in 2007 and ( be­low) in Cairns on Satur­day.

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