head injury | 

Irishman (61) dies in hospital two weeks after alleged gang attack in New Zealand

He suffered a serious head injury and was rushed to Christchurch Hospital where he later died

The man was attacked in Christchurch

Neil FetherstonhaughSunday World

A 61-year-old Irish man who had been described one pal as a “hell of a nice guy” has died in hospital two weeks after being allegedly assaulted in Christchurch in New Zealand’s South Island.

He had been left in a critical condition after he was chased by a gang of people though the centre of the city and attacked at around 6.20pm on Tuesday, October 18.

He suffered a serious head injury and was rushed to Christchurch Hospital where he later died.

The self-employed horticulturist and landscaper is understood to have moved from Ireland to New Zealand several years ago and lived in Wellington on the North Island before moving to Christchurch.

An 18-year-old man was arrested in relation to the incident and appeared at Christchurch District Court last week charged with wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

In a statement, Christchurch police said that further charges against the teenager are being considered.

Auckland Irish Club paid tribute to the victim, writing on a social media post: “Our thoughts and prayers are with our community in Christchurch.

“A member of the Christchurch Irish Society was attacked just over a week ago and sadly passed away on Friday. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam. May he rest in peace.”

The Irishman has not yet been named yet due to family members overseas not yet being informed.

The victim, who was born in Ireland but moved to New Zealand many years ago, was a member of the Christchurch Folk Club and the Christchurch Irish Society.

A friend of the victim who previously described him as a “a man with a heart of gold – a hell of a nice guy” said he was generous with his time.

“Last weekend, he spent several hours landscaping a memorial garden at the Irish Society’s clubrooms and was always willing to help out wherever he could,” his friend told local media.

In a statement Christchurch police department said: “The 61-year-old man who was assaulted during an incident on Cashel Street on Tuesday, 18 October has sadly died.

“An 18-year-old man has previously appeared before the court regarding the matter, on a charge of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

“Further charges will now be considered. Enquiries into the circumstances of the incident are also ongoing.

“The family of the deceased have asked for privacy at this time. There will be no further comment from the family or police.”

The alleged assault comes amid rising concerns about anti-social behaviour at the bus interchange where a brawl broke out among a group of about six young people during rush hour recently.

Christchurch City Council acting resources general manager Jane O’Toole said there had been an “increase in disorder incidents” at the bus interchange in recent months.

Two security guards have patrolled the city centre over the past three months under a pilot scheme aimed at deterring and resolving anti-social behaviour near private businesses.

The Central City Business Association met for its annual meeting where and members voted to extend the patrol for summer.

According to stuff.co.nz, Association chairperson Annabel Turley said the patrol had become too successful to stop.

Turley said the feedback they had received from businesses and visitors about the safety of the city had been positive.

“Compared with other cities around the country, Christchurch is actually very safe.

“It is unfortunate this event has happened in the central city. Overall, feedback I have received is that people feel safe,” she said.

Canterbury police district's youth services manager, Senior Sergeant Phil Newton, said police had noticed an increase in offending around the central city bus interchange and the Riccarton bus lounge in recent months.

Police were working with various agencies to try to make both locations safer and patrols had been increased in the central city in recent weeks.

Newton said it was important that people report crimes so police had a full picture of what was happening.

Part of Cashel St was cordoned off after Tuesday night’s incident.

At least 10 officers were at the scene, outside Ballantynes. Some were seen examining items on the ground, including a bag propped up against the shop wall.

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