University of the Sunshine Coast student Christopher Biddle.
University of the Sunshine Coast student Christopher Biddle.

Attack on teen at USC sparks call for improved lighting

AN attack on a student walking home in the dark from the University of the Sunshine Coast has sparked calls for better security and lighting near the campus.

Christopher Biddle, 17, was heading back from a tutorial about 9pm when he was set upon by someone after his mobile phone.

Christopher said the attacker came out of a 'blind spot' in pitch black, saying nothing as he grabbed for his phone.

Ironically, the Gympie teen had been using his phone as a light which probably bought attention to it.

In the struggle, Christopher was punched in the side of the face and left dazed before he managed to jump to his feet.

The map shows the distance between the Sippy Downs campus and student accommodation.
The map shows the distance between the Sippy Downs campus and student accommodation. Supplied Google

 

He managed to keep a hold of his phone and scared the young attacker enough for him to flee towards the direction of the IGA.

The attack left the journalism student with suspected concussion which meant he had to go to the doctor to be checked out.


RELATED: OUR SAY: All of us should consider safety


Christopher said while there was adequate lighting on the university campus and the main pathway to student accommodation, there were spots where lighting needed to be improved.

The attack happened near a 'goat track' path which students use as a shortcut to their accommodation.

Should there be more lighting around USC?

This poll ended on 17 April 2016.

Current Results

Yes. If there are blind spots they should be addressed.

72%

No. People should stick to the areas that already have lighting.

7%

Walking home at night can be scary whether there is lighting or not.

19%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

Christopher said he was only about 100 metres from his unit at Varsity Apartments when the attack happened last month.

Police confirmed on Friday that the attacker, believed to be a teenager, had not been found.

Staff at Varsity Apartment confirmed lighting was a concern for students coming back from university at night.

There are 420 living at Varsity and another 350 at Uni Central.

A lot of students were cutting through areas, going off the pathways, to get home quicker.

Iain Curry

Police urged students to stick together and stay on the well-lit paths, rather than trying to take short cuts.

A University of the Sunshine Coast spokesperson said students were encouraged to contact security for assistance at any time, particularly if they required an escort at night.

At Orientation, students are encouraged to add the number for USC Security as a quick dial on their mobile phones.

But that assistance is limited to within the USC campus.

"In regards to the pathway on campus across to the private student accommodation complexes, it has been broadened in recent years, is well cleared on either side and is well lit at night,'' the spokesperson said.

The USC has more information about the campus's security and safety here.

 

 

Christopher Biddle was walking home from uni when an attacker came out of a 'blind spot' in pitch black, saying nothing as he grabbed for his phone: http://ow.ly/10vli5

Posted by Sunshine Coast Daily on Sunday, 10 April 2016


IN THE DARK

IN THE wake of the attack on Christopher Biddle other have highlighted another problem area for students walking and cycling home.

Suzanne Ballantyne said she often sees students walking home on Stringybark Rd in the dark.

Commenting on sunshinecoastdaily.com.au, KnoxC said the bridge on Stringybark Rd and its approaches were poorly lit.

"There is no lighting there and the path is narrow and uneven and there is the danger of cyclists cycling on a bridge marked 'cyclists dismount' without lights to add to the problem," KnoxC said.

"To make matters worse the occasional car lights shine in pedestrians faces blinding them so that the dark path is even harder to negotiate."



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