A man has been stabbed in the back within convenient distance of Wollongong Hospital’s emergency department, only to brush off police and surgeons, and claim no knowledge of the circumstances surrounding the attack.
The bemusing case was aired at Wollongong Local Court on Tuesday as a Woonona man charged over the run-in, Neil Thomas Sutton, applied for bail.
Police believe Sutton, 45, clashed with the injured man, 40-year-old John Eno, three days earlier, when the pair attended a barbecue. Sutton has told police Mr Eno stabbed him in the leg at the dinner, and that this prompted him to “punch’ the younger man when he saw him outside the hospital on Monday.
According to a police version of events considered by the court, Sutton was a passenger in a white Holden Commodore that drove past Mr Eno, who was seated on a bus stop near the intersection of Crown and Darling Streets, at 9.26am Monday.
Sutton allegedly pointed at Eno before his female driver parked at the hospital and Sutton got out.
Police say CCTV footage shows Sutton then running at Mr Eno, pushing him and stabbing him in the back “by unknown means”.
A witness has told police Sutton said “I’ll show you how to stab someone”, before he struck.
Mr Eno fell onto the Crown Street roadway. As Sutton “casually” returned to his car and left, Mr Eno was assisted by passers-by into the hospital ED, leaving drips of blood on the floor as he went.
He was treated for a 2cm cut to his lower back but wouldn’t consent to surgery. He wouldn’t tell hospital staff how he came to be wounded. He later refused to allow police to photograph his wound and claimed he did not know why he had been stabbed, or who had attacked him.
Hospital staff have told police the same two men were involved in an altercation in the hospital waiting room on Friday.
Sutton, who is facing an unrelated charge, attended Wollongong Police Station almost immediately after Monday’s alleged attack, to report in line with his bail conditions. He wore the same clothes as the man in the CCTV footage, police later noted.
Sutton was arrested at his home Monday afternoon. He allegedly told police he and Mr Eno “had a bust up the other day at the hospital” and admitted to pushing him when he saw him on the bus stop that morning.
“Yeah I punched him, cause on Friday night I was at a friend’s place for a barbecue and I saw that he stabbed me in the leg,” he allegedly said, pointing to his thigh/groin area.
Sutton was charged with affray. Police have seized his car keys, “as it is believed they were used in the commission of the offence.”
Magistrate Roger Clisdell refused bail. The matter returns to court February 26.