Thursday night, 10:30 pm.
Gary, a self employed gardener, arrived at Hungry Jacks to pick up his son who's shift was nearly over. Another son of his was in the car with him.
"Just after I pulled up, my son rang me, he said 'Make sure you come and not mum,'" says Gary. "I told him 'I’m in the car park.'"
"He said there’s two guys that have threatened to kill him waiting outside."
Gary says the attacker had been hanging around the store for much of his son's shift, and made threats to kill him. "He had entered the premises three or four times during the shift, and threatened to stab and kill him. My son was told by the management don’t worry about it, just get back to work."
"At one stage they were inside riding their skateboards around the floor. The manager told [my son] to tell the boys to get them to leave the store."
Gary was pretty disgusted as he relayed his account of what happened. He didn't think it was right for his son to be directed to deal with the very people that had threatened his life.
As Gary recounts, he got out of his car and saw the two young men standing there.
“I said 'Do you know who I am.' 'Yes. We’re going to kill him,' they said."
"I said, 'You won’t be touching my son.'"
As Gary describes, a scuffle broke out, and the two young men started attacking Gary.
"One was kicking me in the guts, one was sitting on my chest stabbing me," says Gary. "There was also a group of of [onlookers] hanging around. Whenever I was trying to defend myself, the [onlookers] would grab my arm, they would pull my hand off his arm, so he could continue. When I would wrap my legs around one of them they would push my legs off."
Gary says he wouldn't have believed the story if he hadn't experienced it himself. "If I hadn’t gone through it, I would have thought someone was dramatising it. But thats what f###### happened. Pardon my language. People standing around egging him on, then pulling my arms off him so he could get another stab in.”
"There were males and females, aged from around 16 to 25. Around 6 of them. Not sure if they were friends of the attackers or if they were hanging around because they knew there was going to be some action."
Gary was obviously angry at what had occurred. "They were egging him on 'Stab the c###. Make sure you stab him. Go for the throat.”
"When police turned up, they were still there," says Gary. "They lied to the police and said they were trying to pull them apart. I told police what had happened.”
Gary says his other son saw the whole incident from the car, but was prevented from assisting his father by the group of onlookers.
Gary said he ended up with about 6 or 7 little puncture marks. "One got to the jaw bone. That’s why my jaw is pretty sore."
According to Gary, after the incident, he went inside the store to make sure his son was ok. "They piss bolted, and I staggered inside Hungry Jacks to see if they had gone in there to get my son."
"My son said 'Police are on their way and an ambulance is on the way.' I was light headed and woozy so just crouched down on my knees. I was holding the wound, but the blood just kept coming out."
"Management asked me to go outside and sit on the steps."
"Then they started mopping the floor. Then they got told to stop mopping when the Police arrived, as it was an investigation. So they just went and put the mop in the cupboard. I think the mop has been taken away by Police. Then they closed the building off."
"While Police were interviewing one of Gary's sons, his phone went off and there was a message from the attacker," says Gary. He says the message included something along the lines of "I only see three cop cars. Is that all I’m worth?"
Gary was taken to hospital for treatment.
The Police took a statement from Gary at the hospital, and took his clothes. "They let me keep my underwear. But they took everything else as evidence because it was covered in blood."
"I haven’t heard from the cops since they left the hospital."
Gary says he did not receive surgery. "What they did, when they looked at the wound, it was too deep to clean out in ED. I had be booked in at 8am to have surgery. Then there were a couple of emergencies that went in first. I spent about 3 days on an IV drip and antibiotics. Then they told me 'For us to go in probing around might do more damage.' With the three days of antibiotics, the wound started sealing itself up. They had put some kind of compression tape on it to keep it closed."
"They gave me some kind of chemical through the IV drip that highlights veins and arteries, and put me in an imaging machine to get a 3D picture. They told me it was pretty close to the main artery. They said 'You’re very lucky. You would have bled out before you got to the hospital.'"
Gary doesn't consider himself a hero for protecting his son. "At the end of the day there wouldn’t be any parent that wouldn’t put themselves in harms way to stop their kid being hurt. They stabbed me and whatever, but I’m a lot bigger than my son. My son would have had no chance defending himself. I’m maybe 30kg or 40kg heavier than what he is."
Gary still isn't back at work. "Friday is the first day I’m allowed back at work. I mow lawns, slash blocks, stuff like that. I can’t even lift a lawn mower off the back of the trailer. [Being self employed] I’m losing income from it."
Hungry Jacks have been contacted in relation to the incident. They have not responded to a request for comment.
Geraldton Police were contacted regarding the incident. We have not been able to obtain any information from them at this stage. We will update this article if information becomes available.