‘I was lucky not to die’

Central Leader - - Front Page - By Scott Mor­gan

A QUICK trip to the neigh­bour­hood dairy al­most ended in tragedy for Dar­ryn Otene.

The Mt Roskill res­i­dent is in hospi­tal with a bro­ken nose, shat­tered cheek­bone and nu­mer­ous cuts af­ter a man bashed him twice in the head with a metal base­ball bat out­side the White Swan Su­perette on Mon­day evening.

“There was a big guy stand­ing be­hind me hold­ing a base­ball bat,” he says of the at­tack that hap­pened shortly be­fore 7pm.

“He mum­bled some­thing. I looked away briefly and he raised the bat and hit me, then hit me on the ground.

“I’d just fin­ished work, had a shower and was go­ing back to help cook din­ner.”

Mr Otene says he was saved from fur­ther in­juries by a cus­tomer in the dairy who yelled at him to come back in­side the shop.

“I stag­gered back and they closed the door straight away.

“Af­ter he struck me, some peo­ple started chas­ing af­ter him.

“It was pretty busy at that time of day.”

Mr Otene says he doesn’t know why the at­tacker came af­ter him.

He wasn’t robbed and he be­lieves the man may have been on drugs.

“I think he just wanted to bash me.”

But he says the sit­u­a­tion could have been a lot worse.

“I was lucky not to die. It’s not like he just tapped me – he put all his strength into it.

“I’m glad it wasn’t a lady or an older per­son that was struck.”

De­spite the at­tack, the 43-yearold says he’s de­ter­mined to stay in Mt Roskill, where his lives with his part­ner and her two chil­dren.

“The at­tack just hap­pened out of the blue. It’s strange be­cause it’s a re­ally nice area.”

Mr Otene says he’s had great sup­port from the staff at Pak’nSave Mt Al­bert, where he works as a fork­lift driver.

Sher­i­lyn Ryan, who helped Mr Otene into the su­perette af­ter the as­sault, says it’s some­thing she will never for­get.

“I heard a clunk and didn’t think any­thing more of it. Then I heard it again.

“When I turned around I saw this guy ham­mer­ing Dar­ryn over the head with what I thought was a metal bar. His face was turn­ing black.”

She says the ran­dom na­ture of the at­tack is strange.

“It didn’t make sense. A nor­mal at­tacker wouldn’t do it when there were so many peo­ple around in broad day­light at a busy in­ter­sec­tion.

“I’ve lived in Mt Roskill for 40 years and never heard of any­thing like this be­fore. It’s not what you ex­pect to see.”

Mr Otene de­scribed his at­tacker as a Pa­cific Is­lan­der in his late teens or early 20s and about 1.8 me­tres tall.

He was wear­ing a black ny­lon jacket and shorts, while the bat was mainly sil­ver with a dis­tinc­tive pink han­dle.

Mr Otene is now wait­ing for the swelling on his face to sub­side be­fore un­der­go­ing re­con­struc­tive surgery next week.

Con­sta­ble Jen­nie Ni­cholas says po­lice are still in the early stages of their in­ves­ti­ga­tion, tak­ing wit­ness state­ments and looking at se­cu­rity footage.

Any­one with in­for­ma­tion can con­tact Ms Ni­cholas on 820-5771.

Photo: JA­SON OX­EN­HAM

Ran­dom as­sault: Mt Roskill res­i­dent Dar­ryn Otene is fac­ing re­con­struc­tive surgery af­ter a man bashed him in the face with a base­ball bat on Mon­day night.

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