Reported by David Eccleston
For most of us a night out on the town ends without incident. But some never make it home and others will never be the same again. Take a look at the street violence destroying lives through the eyes of those who live it every night.
Fady ‘Freddy’ Taiba was hit by a single punch from behind while working as a security guard.
After a weekend in prison greens, James Longworth was quick to get back into a business shirt.
It is alleged Longworth punched him causing him to fall back and hit his head on the tiles
Freddy was in a coma for 19 days.
“I remember the first time I went to the bathroom and looked in the mirror and all I saw was part of my head deformed, and they told me: ‘That’s where they’ve taken out your skull to save your life’,” Freddy says.
“It’s just senseless, it’s just unbelievable. It goes through my head and I just can’t believe this is happening to our society, who’s next? How are we going to control this?”
Freddy’s scars go all the way around the back of his head to behind his ear. He also has scarring left from his life-saving surgery, during which doctors needed to remove part of Freddy’s skull.
“When I woke up, I felt a tonne of bricks on my head,” Freddy says.
Freddy has endured months of painful therapy where he had to learn to talk and walk again. His accused, investment banker James Longworth, is on bail and is just one of now countless men accused of senseless attacks.
More recently, Shaun McNeil has now been charged with murder after the passing of 18-year-old Daniel Christie. Daniel’s death has again enraged the community, demanding tougher one-punch laws.
Boxing great and long-time anti-violence advocate Danny Green weighed in on Twitter, calling on the Government to take charge of the situation.
“It’s time these maggots got a life sentence,” he said.
“The government will have a riot on its hands unless the laws are changed.”
Freddy’s wife Danielle shares Green’s view, believing the proposed ten-year minimum sentence for king hit offenders is grossly inadequate.
“I think the law needs to make harsher punishments to these people,” she says.
“Make it harder for the next person, make them think twice before doing it again, or if they have the intention of doing it – don’t do it.
“Twenty years to 25 years, it’s upsetting to read about people walking free, I’m hoping that our voices will make some impact – we can only pray.”
After more than twenty years as a security guard, Freddy will walk away from the profession. It’s just not worth the risk anymore.
“The patrons these days, they like to talk back. They’re aggressive, they have no respect for anyone, if it’s not security it’s the poor manager of the venue,” Freddy says.
Today Tonight spent a night as a second pair of eyes with security officers doing their jobs. On the whole most were relatively well behaved, but it was not long before the police were called.
Jamie Close is a former steroid user turned body healer who blames our obsession with the ‘selfie culture’ for the alcohol-fuelled violent attacks, where body image is chased at all costs. It’s Jamie’s view that steroid use is now the social norm for young men.
“I think it’s pretty clear why we are seeing all of this violence,” Jamie says.
“It’s a complete recipe for disaster.”
Forensic Psychologist and Author of Crime Culture and Violence Katie Sielder believes that, as a general rule, offenders don’t care about the consequences and may lack a father figure in life.
“I think it’s a menace of exaggerated masculinity, it’s a way of showing yourself and the people round you and your mates and the community in which you operate that you’re someone that can’t be messed with. That you’re a ‘bloke’, you’re a ‘man’ and you deserve respect,” says Sielder.
As for Freddy, he’s not ready to forgive the man who allegedly hit him.
“I could never forgive him, not only for what he’s put me through, but what he’s put my wife through, my kids,” Freddy says.
And Freddy’s wife Dannielle has a plea for the careless party animals at risk of spiraling out of control:
“Don’t do it. If you can’t handle the alcohol, the drugs, don’t do it. Come and live with us for a day,” she says.
“Obviously they don’t care, they have ruined our lives. They don’t realise the impact on your life – that split second that they’ve made – it’s given us a life sentence.”