A RANDOM attack in which a Wodonga man was ambushed then punched, kicked and repeatedly stabbed has police horrified because of the brutality of the hoodie-clad assailants.
A car driven by a young woman who was with the victim just before the attack was forensically examined by police yesterday.
Public sightings of the car around the time of Tuesday night’s attack in Les Stone Park might be crucial in catching the thugs.
The victim, 28, remained in Wodonga hospital yesterday recovering from his injuries.
“He’s certainly conscious and he’ll be OK,” Detective Leading Sen-Constable Andrew Leonard said.
“He’s got three nasty stab wounds to the lower back and has also got a number of other bruises and marks.”
Police would not be drawn on suggestions the woman he was with might have lured him to the scene before the attack, which happened at 7.30pm.
The woman, 18, was interviewed late on Tuesday and released without charge.
Sen-Constable Leonard said the woman may still be re-interviewed.
It was her car — a silver Mazda sedan — that was examined by forensic police from Wangaratta.
“We would be interested if anyone has seen a vehicle similar to that in that vicinity,” he said.
“The actual assault took place in Les Stone Park at the end of Woodland Street — there’s a pedestrian bridge that goes over the creek there.”
The man did not know his attackers, but he did know the woman.
He was speaking to her when the five men — all wearing hoodies — turned up and knocked him to the ground.
They then started punching and kicking him before he was stabbed three times.
The group fled and the man managed to walk to the nearby house of a second woman he knew.
“That lady’s (got him) straight into the car and taken him straight into hospital,” Sen-Constable Leonard said.
The first woman was not at the scene when police arrived, but went to the Wodonga station later.
Sen-Constable Leonard said the attack was “brutal” and “totally unprovoked”.
“The gentleman seems to have gone there for a particular reason and he was set upon by people he doesn’t know,” he said.
“Just the pure nature of it — while he’s lying defenceless on the ground then to be stabbed in the back.
“I just think it’s deplorable.”
Police and SES volunteers searched the crime scene yesterday morning, as well as the nearby creek, and recovered “several items of interest”.
But the knife used in the attack has not been found.
“We’re looking at Les Stone Park in between Brockley and Lawrence streets and so it’s a fairly high-profile public area,” Sen-Constable Leonard said.