Saturday, March 29, 2003


A Vietnam veteran and his family have been attacked by a topless woman while having a picnic at a beach. The man was forced to shield himself with a fold-up table as the woman lunged at him with a 25cm knife. “It was unbelievable --- she was shouting that she was going to kill me,'' the 52-year-old businessman said yesterday. The man, who asked not to be named, was on Darwin's Nightcliff foreshore when he was pestered by beggars. “When I told them to go away they became extremely aggressive and abusive,'' he said. ``A woman in her mid-30s was the worst. “She disappeared behind a toilet block and then reappeared, topless, brandishing a huge knife. “She came straight at me, calling me all sorts of names and said she was going to kill me. “I had to pick up the fold-up table to protect myself. She slammed the knife into it. “My wife was terrified. “Luckily the itinerant's brother turned up on the scene and threatened to break her arm if she didn't put the knife down. “She eventually did and we just packed up and left.''

The man said he reported the incident to a passing police patrol but there was nothing they could do because they were on their way to police headquarters with a full load of drunken itinerants. Opposition Leader Denis Burke said the battle to control the itinerant problem in Darwin had been lost. “The Government has done nothing to stop drunks and itinerants harassing people on the streets,'' he said. “It's about time they got tough with these people.''

A rather disturbing story. But what is missing from it? In Darwin an “itinerant” is an Aboriginal -- a black. But very few readers outside Darwin would know that. I once lived at Nightcliff myself so I know the area. The press reported the story under the heading “Topless woman attacks picnic”.

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