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Martinborough fireman given brutal beating

By Don Farmer, Tessa Johnstone

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Badly beaten Martinborough firefighter Peter Fisher remains in Wellington Hospital's intensive care unit with his family keeping a bedside vigil.

Mr Fisher's partner Freida Kokiri, and his parents and brother and sister were with him.

Martinborough fire chief Garry Jackson said when he left the hospital late Sunday Mr Fisher was doing all right but that it was "early days yet."

"I've heard from the family they're optimistic he will recover, but I don't know the extent of the injuries," Mr Jackson said.

He said Mr Fisher had also had a couple of teeth broken: "It was a real brutal beating."

A hospital spokesperson said Mr Fisher was still in intensive care in a serious but stable condition.

The man accused of his assault, Milton Haira, appeared in court yesterday.

A team of 10 police investigators yesterday completed an area canvass of Broadway in Martinborough where the early morning assault happened on Sunday.

Officer-in-charge Senior Sergeant Brent Murray said police had finished scene investigations at the house late yesterday.

Mr Murray said the incident occurred just after midnight when a group of about six to eight teenagers, mostly girls aged 14 to 16, had gathered. One of the girls was the daughter of the homeowner Christine Hunter, who was at work in the Cool Change Bar and Eatery in Martinborough, where Peter Fisher was also working part-time.

Mr Murray said the group were just socialising as friends, and it was not thought alcohol was a factor.

Mr Fisher had apparently been seconded into helping deal with an unwelcome male visitor, after the homeowner had been contacted at work about his presence at her house.

Neighbour Christine Murray said she did not see or hear anything during the assault, and that it was just a small gathering.

"They were just having a quiet drink, that's all it was. Then the one from this side went to that side where he was not supposed to," Ms Murray said.

Police should have been called to the house earlier, she said. "That's what really pissed everyone off, there's only one cop around here, who else are we supposed to ring?"

She said the community is hoping and praying that Mr Fisher recovers from the injuries.

Mitre10 Solutions in Martinborough have started fundraising efforts for the family.


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