Police examine the scene where Andrew Houlahan was killed.
Police examine the scene where Andrew Houlahan was killed.

Another bashing in Coolangatta

A COOLANGATTA police sergeant may have a fractured jaw after he was king hit from behind last weekend.

Sergeant Steve Quinn and other officers jumped in to break up a large brawl outside The Sands Hotel early Saturday morning.

The vicious attack has reinforced Coolangatta’s reputation as a late-night danger zone and the police union is calling for action.

In September 23-year-old Andrew Houlahan was tragically killed in a late night brawl and barely a month later 18-year-old Sam Ford received serious head injuries after being attacked in the same spot. Mr Ford remains conscious but unresponsive in hospital.

Sgt Quinn was hesitant to intervene on the weekend after witnessing how one punch killed Mr Houlahan on the same corner, Coolangatta Duty Sergeant Billy Kaz said.

“That same officer was the first response officer where that young man lost his life,” Sgt Kaz said.

“He had hesitation.”

Sgt Quinn received the same strike to the head as Mr Houlahan, but fortunately the blow did not have such devastating consequences.

“Sergeant Steve Quinn was hit from behind and as a result received injuries to his jaw and head,” Sgt Kaz said.

“He was subsequently taken to John Flynn Hospital where the injuries were examined and are continuing to be treated.

“His jaw could be fractured; we don’t know yet.”

Sgt Kaz said the fight started when the Sands Hotel closed.

“Following the closure of the venue a crowd gathered outside and a violent blue started and as a result police intervened.

“About six or seven men were fighting.”

Three Tweed Heads men, all in their early 20s, were charged following the ugly incident.

“We charged one person with serious assault against police. The same man and two others were charged with public order offences for fighting in public,” Sgt Kaz said.

Police are searching for a fourth man who ran from the fight.

“The male person was last seen leaving the scene without a shirt, which was torn off during the fight.”

Police are appealing to anyone with information in relation to this matter to contact Sgt Kaz at the Coolangatta Police Station on (07) 5589 8444.

The Queensland Police Union’s Gold Coast secretary said this latest assault highlights the need for a state parliamentary inquiry into alcohol-related violence to wind back operating hours of pubs and clubs.

“The police union are happy for this to take place sooner rather than later as serious assaults against police and patrons are constantly occurring due to the extreme consumption of alcohol and testosterone,” the secretary said.

Sgt Kaz wanted to take this opportunity to remind people they will be out in force this holiday period.

“Five operations are running in the Coolangatta area alone, targeting traffic, public order and property related offences.”

“There is a zero tolerance by Queensland Police of consumption of alcohol in a public place where on the spot fines are issued.

“Currently, the Queensland Police on the Gold Coast are undertaking operation ‘Merrit’ to reduce alcohol-fuelled violence attached to licensed areas, and curb public order and assault-related offences by rostering additional staff over the operation period.”

Operation Merrit started this month and the first phase will run until January 31.

Shame file

November 07: a gang of youths launch a sickening attack on an off-duty police officer.

December 08: A man was left with a broken jaw and ribs after being gang-bashed.

June 09: An Indian student was assaulted in front of an unmanned Coolangatta Police Station.

September 09: Andrew Houlahan killed by one punch.

October 09: Sam Ford received brain injuries after being assaulted.

December 09: Sergeant Steve Quinn was punched during a street brawl.

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