Goonellabah man jailed for two years over vicious assault

A Goonellabah man has been jailed for two years for assaulting a 77 year-old man who was raking leaves and sustained two broken ribs and bleeding on his kidney.

On November 22, 2016, about 6.50am, John Helmood was raking leaves out the front of a Ballina Rd residence, when Garth Russell pushed him with both hands from behind and he fell heavily onto concrete.

Te elderly Goonellabah resident was recovering from a stroke he suffered earlier in the year.

Police were called to the scene and when they arrived they found Mr Helmood bleeding from both elbows, knees and ankles, with a large bump on his right arm and soreness to his ribs and back.

Mr Helmood was taken to Lismore Base Hospital and police were soon informed Russell was spotted near Rous Rd and he was arrested behind an apartment complex on Fischer St, following a chase by police.

Russell was taken to Lismore police station where he told officers ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about’ and declined to be interviewed.

He was charged with common assault and reckless grievous bodily harm.

At 3pm that day, police were advised Mr Helmood was in a critical condition in intensive care, with bleeding to the kidney and two fractured ribs, and required urgent surgery to stop the bleeding.

Due to Mr Helmood’s injuries, Russell was charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm the day after the incident, and refused bail.

Court documents stated at the time of the incident Russell smoked cannabis joints daily, consumed a moderate amount of alcohol and smoked ice each day.

In sentencing Russell, Magistrate Heilpern said he had no other option than to send him to jail, and by doing so, send a message to the community that serious assaults on elderly members of the community will not be tolerated.

Mr Heilpern sentenced Russell to two years jail, with a non-parole period of 18 months, dating from the day of his arrest.

With good behaviour, Russell will be eligible for parole on May 22, 2018.


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