FRIGHTENED: Rodney Steele was assaulted by a group of four teenagers while cleaning the Stanthorpe State School on Friday morning Photo Alex Nolan / Stanthorpe Border Post
FRIGHTENED: Rodney Steele was assaulted by a group of four teenagers while cleaning the Stanthorpe State School on Friday morning Photo Alex Nolan / Stanthorpe Border Post Alex Nolan

Low act leaves ‘Soapy’ anxious

BASHING victim Rodney "Soapy" Steele is still feeling anxious but has praised police and the community for their response to a violent attack which left him with a broken jaw.

"I'm still feeling a little bit on edge," Mr Steele said.

"I received a phone call last Tuesday night... all I could hear on the other end was people whispering and I thought 'the mongrels have got my phone number'."

"I went into melt-down mode."

Thankfully, the call was from one of the many people who have phoned to offer their support.

Mr Steele was set-upon while cleaning the Stanthorpe State School on Friday, February 13, at around 4am.

Two men aged 19 and 20 were charged with numerous offences and have been released on strict bail conditions.

The pair face the Stanthorpe Magistrates court on Wednesday on charges of assault occasioning bodily harm whilst in company, wilful destruction of property and trespass.

The arrests were made following female witnesses reporting the matter to the police.

Senior Sergeant Mark Ireland said the informants were certainly helpful and that they'd done the right thing.

"The girls were upset because their names had been linked to the attack," he said.

"The alleged offenders were known to police and their distinctive clothing, along with the girls' assistance, led to the arrests."

Mr Steele's son Brendon said it had been tough watching his father go through such a traumatic experience and had a message for those responsible.

"It was a gutless act and there's just no room for it in our town," he said.

"I took him to Brisbane on Tuesday for scans and to see such a strong man, as he always has been, so mentally scarred.

"Hopefully the justice system can do its job (Wednesday) and we get the right outcome."

Both Mr Steele and his son have been inundated with support from friends and family, not just in the town, but from all over the state.

"You don't realise how much support we've had from people," the cleaner's son said.

"Dad has helped people all of his life and now the favour is being returned."

Mr Steele planned to return to work yesterday morning to try and overcome the painful memory of the incident.

"If I feel good at work... then I'll stopworrying," he said.

"The school has mental health counsellors I can visit which should help.

"I just really want to thank the people of the community for their kind words and support."

Stanthorpe Border Post

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