Face bitten, family abused at beach
IT was the last thing Dean Hales and his family expected.
While enjoying a relaxing Sunday on the beach at Tallebudgera Creek two weeks ago, a complete stranger attacked Dean and bit him on the face.
The ugly incident - which has left him in fear of contracting AIDS or hepatitis C has soured the former South African family's attempt at settling down into their new home at Reedy Creek.
"My kids are petrified of going to the beach again and in future if I go to the beach I'll be armed - what do you expect me to do against such a cowardly act?" Mr Hales, still nursing a wound on his face, said.
It was around lunchtime on May 15 when Mr Hales and his wife, Josanne, were preparing some chops on a small gas barbecue while their children Craig, six, and Gina, 11, played on the beach.
"It was a normal day on the beach, I was reading the paper while the kids played in the shallows when this gentleman in black speedos, who had swum from across the creek, approached us and said 'You know you're not allowed to make fires here'," Mr Hales said.
"I told him we're not making fires, just enjoying the day, and asked him if it was a problem - I didn't know who the hell he was, I hadn't even lit the barbecue, the chops were defrosting on the cooktop.
"He then turned around and swam back so I took the kids for a ride in the boat and as one of them wanted to go to the toilet, we headed to the change rooms on the other side of the creek.
"As we approached I saw the same person swimming around and could hear him trying to draw my attention but I ignored him and anchored the boat and we went to the toilets.
"When we returned a woman also appeared on the beach and started yelling at us that we were endangering everyone's lives with the boat - she was going off - then the man, who was obviously with her, came up and started abusing us".
Mr Hales said he then rang the police to inform them of the incident but as the abusive people had apparently gone, he later rang them to tell them not to bother.
"We then went back to the beach, the kids were playing in the water and I was sitting on a fold-up chair watching them with my wife next to me," he said.
"All of a sudden the man ran out from behind us, grabbed me by the throat trying to strangle me and I went flying into the sand where he then bit me on the side of the face.
"As we were scuffling, a bystander came and diffused the situation and the bloke ran off."
Mr Hales said the bystander saw a police car nearby and gave them the details of the offender. Mr Hales then rang police and gave them a statement.
"I dropped the family off home and went to the hospital where I was given two injections and blood tests for HIV and hepatitis C.
"But I have to follow them up with more tests soon and in six months to see if it's all clear.
"We left South Africa because of all the crime and violence ... when we came here the last thing we ever expected was an incident like this it's crazy isn't it.
"Obviously some people are extremely jealous and hate seeing other people having fun. You don't want any of this uncalled-for-nonsense," he said. At the time of going to press, information was unavailable as to whether police had laid any charges over the incident.