Terrace attack charge

By Chris Thomson | posted on August 2, 2018

A 23-YEAR-OLD man has been remanded in custody charged with the first of two alleged attacks that fractured the skulls of two Albany men who had departed Studio 146 nightclub.

The men were both airlifted to Royal Perth Hospital, each having been allegedly punched in the head in seemingly unrelated attacks on Stirling Terrace.

Yesterday, Cody Nathan Lee Bennell, 23, appeared from the dock before Albany Magistrate Raelene Johnston.

Mr Bennell was not required to plea to one count of grievous bodily harm over an alleged attack in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Earlier from outside court, police alleged that at 3am on Saturday a 40-year-old man was struck to the face, fell and hit the back of his head on the road.

Police spokeswoman Alice Cockram said the 40-year-old was with a friend on Stirling Terrace when he became involved in a fight with a group of men.

“He was conveyed to Albany Hospital and later transferred to Royal Perth Hospital via Royal Flying Doctors Service for treatment for serious head injuries,” Sgt Cockram said.

Albany Police Acting Detective Senior Sgt Kris McDonald said the alleged attack occurred after the man exited Studio 146, having spent “time with family and friends and just celebrating some good times”.

“He is an Albany local and it is certainly a sad state of affairs when a gentleman is out with his family and friends to mark the occasion for his birthday and as a result he spends the rest of the weekend in RPH with a fracture to the skull,” he said.

Snr Sgt McDonald said the man did not know his alleged “attackers”.

Yesterday, as four of his associates looked on from the back of Courtroom 3, Mr Bennell made no bail application and was remanded in custody to again appear on August 9.

Magistrate Johnston anticipated a bail application might occur on that day.

In an eerily similar alleged attack police say is unlikely to be connected to the Saturday one, on Sunday at 3am another Albany man was punched in the face after leaving Studio 146.

The victim, 26, landed face-down on the pavement and received multiple head injuries.

Sgt Cockram said the victim was on Stirling Terrace when approached by a man unknown to him.

Snr Sgt McDonald said both men received fractured skulls from the “very serious” alleged assaults.

“[The Sunday morning victim] sustained significantly more serious injuries [than the 40-year-old], which include a fractured skull, fractured eye sockets and a fractured jaw,” he said.

He said the first alleged victim was likely to be discharged from hospital “soon”, while the second man was likely to stay in hospital some time longer.

Asked if the Sunday attacker had been affected by alcohol, Snr Sgt McDonald told The Weekender police were “exploring all options” and “maintaining an open mind with the investigation”.

“It’s an aspect of the investigation that we will cover off, yes,” he said.

Snr Sgt McDonald said police were also “keeping an open mind” on whether the Sunday attacker had earlier been in the night club.

Police have reviewed video footage from nearby CCTV cameras.

“We’re obviously going to increase our patrols through the licensed premises within the vicinity of Albany,” he said.

Late yesterday morning, Officer-in-charge of Albany Police Grant Pollard said nobody had been arrested for the Sunday morning attack.

Anyone with relevant information should call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.