Atwell assault victim has no regrets over approach

David Fletcher was coward punched after he asked a group to move their car from a disabled bay. Photo: Ben Smith.
David Fletcher was coward punched after he asked a group to move their car from a disabled bay. Photo: Ben Smith.

A FATHER of four who was coward punched after asking a group to move their car from a disabled bay says he would not think twice about doing the same again.

David Fletcher was knocked unconscious at Stargate Atwell Shopping Centre on Tuesday, November 5, after his broad daylight approach escalated into an argument.

Upon noticing the car was not displaying any ACROD stickers, Mr Fletcher took umbrage with the car’s young occupants, who responded with abuse and threats.

The Treeby resident said the next thing he remembered was ‘coming to’ in a nearby chemist, having been floored by a punch and left crumpled on the sidewalk. Security CCTV captured the attack.

Despite sustaining a concussion, swollen jaw and bruised ribs, Mr Fletcher said he would do the same the next time if a similar occasion arose.

“A lot of people have said I should have minded my own business, but if you stick your head in the sand you’re fuelling a society that’s disrespectful,” he said.

Mr Fletcher said his parents lived with a disability and whenever he saw cars in a disabled bay, he looked to see whether they had an ACROD sticker displayed.

“I saw the three young people in there, didn’t see a sticker and said ‘look, that’s a disabled bay’, at which point the girl in the driver’s seat started giving me abuse,” he said.

“All I remember was arguing with the girl just before I got knocked out.

“There were some swear words going back and forward.

“I came to in the chemist with triple vision. I really didn’t know where I was. I can’t remember a single thing about the punch.”

Mr Fletcher was taken to hospital but was cleared of serious injury.

He admitted he was lucky not to have hit his head on the pavement and said his assailant was also lucky he had not sustained further injuries.

“The guy that did it, he made a poor choice. Being disabled is not a choice. Parking in a disabled bay and king hitting or coward punching someone is a choice,” he said.

“Those choices you make have actions and those actions have consequences. As long as he’s going to accept the consequences, maybe he might learn something from it.

“What he did could have been worse. If it had gone the wrong way, that stupid choice he made could have landed him in jail for manslaughter.”

A 23-year-old Spearwood man has been charged with assault occasioning bodily harm. He will appear in court at a later date.

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