POLICE have labelled the attack on teenager Jesse Chapman as ‘‘savage’’ and ‘‘cowardly’’ and have called for witnesses to do the right thing and come forward.
Jesse, 17, was dragged from his car and brutally bashed after accidentally bumping into another vehicle at the Strzelecki lookout on Friday night.
Jesse was about to head home after spending the night at a church youth group and hanging with friends near the Anzac Memorial Walk when he reversed into a white ute in the lookout car park about 11pm.
A man jumped straight from the ute and mercilessly beat Jesse in the head, dragging him from the car and holding him by the hair. He suffered two black eyes and bruising and swelling to his nose and face.
Jesse and his mother Kathy Chapman say they are determined to bring his attacker to justice. After capturing the attention of thousands on social media over the weekend, the pair appeared on local and Sydney TV and radio on Monday to continue their push for information.
Newcastle City police Inspector Trevor Shiels said police believe there were a number of people in the car park at the time of the assault. So far no one has come forward.
‘‘This is a particularly savage assault on someone I would suggest is a non-threatening individual and purely a victim,’’ Inspector Shiels said outside Newcastle police station on Monday.
‘‘Accidents occur all the time and I think it is reasonable to say that this was a very minor one.
‘‘The overreaction is significant with the potential for very serious harm. ‘‘The injuries are serious… when you are striking someone in the head it can have dire consequences.
‘‘Obviously we are still investigating the matter, but given the significance of the injuries I would suggest it is a fairly cowardly attack. ‘‘I don’t believe the young fellow was threatening or intimidating in any way.
‘‘There are people out there that can assist us and I would certainly encourage them to come forward. ‘‘I think once they think about it they certainly will.’’
The offender is described as having a big build, in his late 20s and was wearing a long-sleeved orange high-visibility shirt at the time of the assault.
The car he got out of is described as a Toyota HiLux single-cab two-door ute with a black flat tray.
The Chapmans want anyone with information to contact Newcastle City police or Crime Stoppers.
Also, they are urging anyone who may have CCTV cameras at homes near Strzelecki lookout or those in the area on Friday night who may have dash-cams in their car to check their footage and contact police.
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