Port Lincoln Hospital emergency department nurse details ‘terrifying’ attack by young boxer



A regional emergency department nurse cowered in the corner of a treating room as she was punched more than 10 times by a boxer, an Adelaide court has heard.

The District Court heard 19-year-old Jiah Thomas Chesher was having a psychotic episode when he assaulted Amanda Treagus at the Port Lincoln Hospital in August 2019.

The registered nurse was punched at least 10 times by Chesher, who the court heard had done boxing training since he was a teenager.

She suffered severe bruising, a neck sprain and whiplash and the court heard she still had a scar on her face, intermittent pain, headaches, concussion and nausea from pinched nerves and post-traumatic stress disorder.

“If one punch landed slightly in a different spot on my skull, I would not be alive today, I’m certain of that,” she said in her victim impact statement.

“To hit me once would’ve been enough of a shock and difficult to deal with.

“To be hit over and over repeatedly, very hard, very fast with no chance of defending yourself, to be hit again and again until you are cowering in the corner, pressed against a cupboard and still getting hit, no-one can comprehend.

“My colleagues have all been affected by this, some too scared to go to work.”

The court heard the emergency department nurse was so badly injured she had not been able to carry out her usual duties since.

Amanda Treagus sitting in a chair with a bandage on the right side of her forehead
Amanda Treagus was working in the emergency department.(Supplied)

Accused ‘suffering psychosis’ at the time

Chesher’s lawyer, Craig Fabbian, told the court his client was “particularly unwell” at the time of the incident and was suffering psychosis linked to schizophrenia.

The court heard Chesher’s parents had noticed their son withdraw from his friends in the years leading up to the attack and had sought a number of opinions from health professionals, but there was a “failure to recognise schizophrenia”.

Mr Fabbian said it was very difficult to get access to a psychiatrist in Port Lincoln.

Amanda Treagus with a bruised eye and injury on her forehead
Ms Treagus has called for more support for people working in health care.(Facebook: Amanda Treagus)

“Unfortunately, those assessments by telephone appear not to have identified a clear issue,” he said.

Chesher’s parents had rung an ambulance for their son on the day of the assault after he had “stood motionless in the kitchen for about an hour”.

The court heard a police officer had travelled in the ambulance too, because there was a risk he might be violent.

“It’s clear and highlights perhaps how vulnerable the alleged victim was in this situation,” Mr Fabbian told the court.

“A registered nurse without support having to care for Mr Chesher.

Mr Fabbian told the court Chesher spent three weeks in the Royal Adelaide Hospital after the attack and his rehabilitation since “has been strong”.

“It’s a long road to rehabilitation, but there certainly has been improvements along the way,” he said.

Mr Fabbian told the court, Chesher had “no prior convictions whatsoever” and had the full support of his family who was “devastated by this situation”.

The court heard he had since moved to Adelaide to get treatment and continue his rehabilitation.

Prosecutors did not oppose Chesher being released into the community on licence, but sought a condition he be banned from visiting Port Lincoln, where he had lived his whole life prior to the assault.

A limiting term will be set next month.


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