Four young offenders brutally bash school cleaner

"FRIGHTENING and terrifying" is how a school cleaner described the brutal attack that left him with a broken jaw and a body covered in bruises.

Rodney "Soapy" Steele was set upon by four offenders while cleaning the Stanthorpe State Primary School in the early hours of Friday morning.

The group of two males and two females repeatedly kicked and punched Mr Steele in the face, torso and head.

The injured man phoned Police Link at 3.30am after a door had been smashed.

He chased the youths off the property but they returned - jumping a school fence and brutally assaulting him.

Mr Steele has not been known to take a backward step but said the incident left him shaken.

"I've never backed away from a fight, but when you're lying on the ground you just start yelling for help," he said.

"It felt frightening; terrifying. When it was over I picked myself up off the ground ... there was blood pouring out of me everywhere."

The attack has left the community stunned and Mr Steele has been inundated with calls of support from people around town.

"I've lived here all of my life," he said.

"I am pretty well known around town so I've had plenty of support ... the phone hasn't stopped ringing.

"The teachers at the school, the police and the doctors have all been fantastic."

While Mr Steele said he would recover from the physical trauma, he was left emotionally scarred by the incident.

"I'm a bit scared, but I'll get over it," he said.

"I've found myself watching people crossing the street and wondering whether it could be them."

Mr Steele's wife Francis said her husband had been doing it tough over the past few days and that she was worried about the physical and mental toll the attack would take.

"He has been having difficulty eating and he's drinking through a straw at the moment," she said.

"He only wishes that he was a few years younger and could have defended himself better.

"We went for a walk on Saturday night and saw two young guys crossing the street wearing hoodies and he just went into shock mode." Stanthorpe Police officer-in- charge Mark Ireland condemned the unprovoked attack.

If anyone has any information about the attack that could help police, please call Crime Stoppers at 1800 333 000.



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