The father of a 14-year-old boy who had his skull fractured and was rushed to hospital in a critical condition after an unprovoked and “sickening attack” at Casuarina shopping centre over the weekend, says the government needs to take immediate action to keep the public safe from young offenders.
The teen was reportedly king-hit near the loading dock at the Woolworths at Casuarina Square on Sunday afternoon around 2:15pm in a surprise attack that involved his head kicked and stomped on repeatedly.
NT Police said they had worked through the night to identify the alleged attacker and arrested a 16-year-old on Monday afternoon.
He is expected to be charged with intent to cause serious harm and is scheduled to appear in court this morning.
The victim’s father said the attack was so vicious he wasn’t sure at first if his son would survive.
“I had to fly his mum up from Alice Springs because we didn’t know how bad it would be,” he told the NT Independent.
“The fact this has been allowed to go on for so long is disgusting. I’ve seen too many kids getting hurt.
“One of his friends is a young female and she is scared for her life. A lot of the kids are afraid to say anything.”
The father said he wanted Chief Minister Michael Gunner to recognise there is a problem and explain to the community what he is doing to keep children safe from unprovoked attacks by young offenders before someone is killed.
The 14-year-old victim, who on Monday afternoon was expected to recover, was attacked near the same area Alderman Gary Haslett was attacked at earlier this month.
Mr Haslett was hospitalised with major facial injuries, including a fractured cheekbone, after being assaulted by two teens who were out on bail at the time.
“It is not safe to go near the bus interchange at Casuarina or shop at Woolworths,” Mr Haslett wrote at the time. “But what will happen once they catch them? How many more people will they bash…”
It is unclear if the 16-year-old suspect was out on bail at the time of the latest attack, but the father of the victim said he was told that Strike Force Trident detectives had been searching for the teen in connection to an unrelated matter before the assault occurred.
Detective Acting Senior Sergeant Brett Cottier said it was a disturbing attack.
“The incident was a sickening attack on a 14-year-old who wasn’t expecting to be struck,” he said.
“Strike Force Trident and Serious Crime Detectives worked throughout the night and [day] to secure valuable evidence and arrest the 16-year-old youth.”