Tāne suffers brain bleed, fractured skull in bar attack

By Contributor

Wynton King underwent brain and jaw surgery and suffered a stroke as a result of an assault outside Christchurch's Rockpool Bar. Photo / supplied

By Emily Moorhouse, Open Justice multimedia journalist, Ōtautahi 

A woman is “counting her blessings” her little brother awoke from a coma with enough recall to recognise his family after he underwent emergency brain surgery and was given a “bleak” prognosis following a vicious bar assault.

“When I can’t be with him, I call him each day,” Wynton King’s sister wrote on a Givealittle page created to support his recovery.

“I count my blessings he remembers who I am and the bond we share.”

King was left “fighting for his life” in an induced coma after he was assaulted amid a Christchurch pub brawl that involved up to 20 people in the early hours of October 23.

Today, an 18-year-old appeared in Christchurch District Court, where he admitted to the attack on King.

On the night of the assault, the offender, who has interim name suppression, was at the Rockpool Bar, where he was heavily intoxicated after polishing off a bottle of Malibu Rum, the summary of facts stated.

Around 12.15am, a fight broke out outside the bar and spilt across the street. As the brawl grew in numbers, the offender joined in and began to swing punches at several people.

Tried to calm offender

While security staff and bystanders attempted to intervene, a man receiving help from a member of security copped six punches to the head by the offender.

The victim fell to the ground in a foetal position, and the offender was restrained by security.

But as the brawl subsided, he remained angry and agitated. Several people, including King, who was unknown to the offender, tried to calm him down.

Soon after, he made a beeline for King, who was focused on something else at the time and delivered a punch to the right side of his face.

King was knocked unconscious as he fell and hit his head on the footpath.

The offender fled the scene and continued to pick fights with people in the area until police could locate him, and he was arrested.

When spoken to by police about his first victim, the offender claimed he was a trained fighter and was “just swinging...doing what he needed to do.” He said he could not remember assaulting King.

King was rushed to the hospital in critical condition and was put in an induced coma. Scans showed a large subdermal brain bleed and a fractured skull.

'Extremely bleak' prognosis

The Givealittle page, which has garnered more than $32,000 in support, said King underwent emergency brain and jaw surgery and suffered a severe stroke due to his injuries.

After a week in intensive care, King’s family was told his prognosis was “extremely bleak”.

However, the latest update on the page said that while King is in the post-traumatic amnesia stage of his recovery, he is doing well physically.

“We, his family, are extremely grateful for the outpouring of love his many friends are sending our way. We are learning just how truly loved our Winnie is,” the page said.

In court on Friday, the teen pleaded guilty to a charge of wounding with intent to injure and assaulting with intent to injure.

His lawyer Rupert Ward asked the judge to extend the interim name suppression order due to his client’s age.

“This is a case involving an 18-year-old who has never been in trouble before... 18-year-olds are adolescents. They don’t always make rational decisions,” Ward said.

Judge Stephen O’Driscoll granted an extension of the suppression order and requested a pre-sentence report.

The matter was also referred to restorative justice ahead of the teen’s sentencing on April 14.