TWO young women accused of a racist attack on an elderly blind man on a Gold Coast bus have received death threats, their lawyer says.
One has been freed on bail but her co-accused will remain behind bars and was led back to the cells sobbing.
Larna Watmough, 21, and Layni Cameron, 17 — who can be named because Queensland laws treat 17-year-olds as an adult — faced Southport Magistrates Court this morning charged with serious assault and public nuisance.
They are accused of assaulting 77-year-old man Paul Buttigieg on a Surfside bus on Tuesday.
Layni Cameron , the brunette girl accused of attacking an elderly man on a bus has handed herself in at a Gold Coast police station and is being questioned over the alleged incident.
The 17-year-old, who was allegedly with a blonde 21-year-old on the bus, arrived at about 1.50pm and rushed past waiting media into the police station.
Earlier, Gold Coast police Acting Superintendent Brian Swan said police believed they had identified the women, and it was with the help of a slew of public tip-offs.
Police are expected to charge the two young women who bashed and racially vilified a partially blind indigenous man on a Gold Coast bus.
Gold Coast District Acting Superintendent Brian Swan said the victim had made a statement to police and wanted to press charges.
Supt Swan said police suspected the perpetrators were aged 17 and 21 but were yet to locate and interview them.
One of the girls who allegedly attacked a man on a bus enters a Gold Coast police station.
“We did receive a lot of calls from the public,” he told reporters.
“Quite quickly this morning we were able to identify who we believe were responsible.”
Supt Swan said the man suffered bruising to his arm.
“As you can imagine, he is quite upset and shaken by the incident,” he said.
He said the women could face serious assault charges, which carry a maximum sentence of seven years’ jail.
Gold Coast bus attack: two women leave elderly man ‘upset and shaken’
February 28, 2014 – 2:06PM
Gold Coast police are interviewing one of two young women captured on film abusing a passenger on a bus.
The woman walked into the Coolangatta station voluntarily early Friday afternoon.
Police are still searching for the second woman feature in the footage of the attack, which happened on Tuesday afternoon.
The women are seen verbally and physically abusing the 77-year-old man as the Sunbus service travelled through Kirra on Queensland’s Gold Coast.
District Acting Superintendent Brian Swan said the West Tweed Heads man came forward on Friday morning.
“He’s suffered some bruising on his arms, and as you can imagine he is quite upset and shaken by the incident,” he said.
The girls hurled racial abuse at the man, but Acting Superintendent Swan said he was not indigenous.
“The victim actually doesn’t identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander,” he said.
“However it is concerning that the alleged [attackers] perceived that he was.”
Acting Superintendent Swan also corrected earlier reports that the victim was vision-impaired, saying that his glasses had been knocked off during the scuffle, making it hard for him to see.
They also abused a female passenger who was standing with a pram.
“If anyone views that footage, you’d find it disturbing and I think quite abhorrent really, that sort of behaviour, particularly in a public place,” Acting Superintendent Swan said.
“I don’t think anyone would find that level of behaviour acceptable.”
Police are investigating if the women had been attending a social event in northern New South Wales earlier in the day, and whether alcohol was involved.
“It’s hard to say at this point in time because we haven’t spoken to the people involved, but obviously looking at the clip they’re under the influence of some substance,” Acting Superintendent Swan said.
He said police did not receive any complaints about the incident until after Channel Nine screened the footage, filmed by a 13-year-old girl, on Thursday night. “We did receive a lot of calls from the public … quite quickly this morning we were able to identify those we believe were responsible,” he said.
On Friday, the women’s names were circulating on social media.
They face charges of serious assault, which carries a maximum jail term of seven years.
Police Minister Jack Dempsey said the incident was an absolute disgrace.
“It’s deplorable to think that an individual can think they can use this type of violence against an elderly person on a public transport vehicle,’’ he said.
The incident ended when a male passenger told the women to stop, and forced them off the bus.
Acting Superintendent Swan said police had spoken with Sunbus about the bus driver.
“They are satisfied with the actions of the bus driver,” he said.
“From what I’ve been told, he’s acted appropriately in compliance with their policy … we have no criticism of his actions.”
It’s not the first time mobile phone footage of bad behaviour on buses has gone viral.
In June, NSW Police charged a 55-year-old woman after she was caught on camera racially vilifying an Asian schoolboy on a bus in Burwood in April.
Another video shows a pregnant woman being called a “fat slut” after she asked a Perth train passenger to move her bags so she could sit down.
In November 2012, a French woman on a Melbourne bus was told to “speak English or die” by a man who also threatened to cut her breasts off.
All three videos were posted on YouTube and triggered a backlash on social media.
A teenage girl who robbed a Surfers Paradise convenience store used the money to pay for a night in a luxury hotel
- Gold Coast Bulletin
- February 14, 2014
A KNIFE-wielding teenage girl robbed a Surfers Paradise store just to fund a night in a luxury high rise hotel, a court has been told.
Layni Cameron, 17, stayed just one night at the Meriton Apartments in Broadbeach but soon found herself spending a less comfortable night in the Southport Watchhouse.
The Chinderah teenager faced the Southport Magistrates Court yesterday charged with armed robbery and stealing.
Police have alleged Cameron was seen on CCTV footage entering a Surfers Paradise convenience store around 7pm on Monday and pulling a long silver knife from a leopard-print handbag.
Police prosecutor Sergeant Myee Arandale said Cameron pointed the knife at the shop assistant and demanded cash while backing her into a corner.
She is alleged to have escaped with $400 cash with a female friend who played look out.
The girls then allegedly booked an apartment in Broadbeach and paid in cash.
Yesterday the court was told detectives soon tracked her down and Cameron confessed to robbing the store because “she had no money and didn’t want to spend the night on the street”.
Solicitor Ashleigh Nicholls said Cameron had been living between friends’ houses and working part-time as a telemarketer but could return to live with her parents at Chinderah if given bail.
Magistrate Kerry Magee agreed to bail but banned Cameron from Surfers Paradise and ordered her to return him and report to police three times a week.
She will return to court on April 2.