‘I thought my days are gone’: Elderly man describes ‘cowardly attack’

Battered and bruised: Francois Beugels. Photo: The South Coast RegisterFrancois Beugels’ battered and bloodied face says it all.

The 76-year-old North Nowra resident was the victim of a cowardly and vicious attack in on the state’s south coast on Sunday night.

He was punched to the ground, had his head pushed into a concrete gutter, his wallet stolen and his head stomped on.

Mr Beugels said he thought his time was up.

“They never talked to me, I just got hit from behind – bang, bang, bang,” he said.

“I was bashed repeatedly, stomped on repeatedly and my head was smashed into the asphalt – I thought my days are gone, that’s it.

“I heard one of the fellows say, ‘That’s enough’, and then immediately said, ‘Get his wallet’. Then I got the foot into my face.”

Mr Beugels was on his daily walk around 6.30pm on Sunday on Pitt Street, North Nowra when he noticed two teenagers following him.

He continued walking onto Page Avenue, where one of the teenagers assaulted him near the intersection of Goolagong Street.

His head made contact with a concrete gutter after he was punched to the ground.

The offenders then stole his wallet before inflicting another beating on him, stomping on his head, before running away.

It is believed Mr Beugels’ cries for help prompted one of the teenagers to return and kick him several times.

Mr Beugels was taken to Shoalhaven District Memorial Hospital where he was treated for head injuries, including bruising and lacerations.

He was released on Sunday night and bravely fronted a press conference on Monday morning in order to help police find his attackers.

Shoalhaven police Inspector John Behrendt said the attack was “un-Australian”.

“It was just disgusting. I’ve been here for seven years and it’s one of the most cowardly attacks I’ve ever seen,” Inspector Behrendt said.

“[They are] cowards and thugs.”

“The target they picked … it’s un-Australian. It’s not good picking any target but even worse when it’s an older gentlemen on his daily walk. Seems callous,” Inspector Behrendt said.

Police went to the scene and searched without success for the offenders.

They are now appealing for public information about the attack.

Acting Shoalhaven Local Area Commander, Acting Superintendent Paul Condon said the attack was unprovoked.

“His face says it all, this was a very low act by these people.”

“We believe someone within the Nowra community has done this. We are appealing for anyone who may have any information, hears or knows anything about this attack to come forward,” he said.

The two suspects are described as Caucasian in appearance, between 160 to 170cm tall, aged in their late teens, and both were wearing hooded jumpers, one of which was red.

Police said there was no connection between Sunday night’s attack and the discovery of a 52-year-old man found lying unconscious on a cement slab in front of the change rooms at the Sharman Park soccer fields in North Nowra recently.

That man had apparently suffered a medical incident, a fit, and had collapsed, and sustained a large wound to the back of his head.

Police are urging anyone with information about this incident to call Shoalhaven Local Area Command on 4421 9699 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

with South Coast Register

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