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Man charged after launching alleged ‘anti-Islamic’ tirade at family picnic

Courtesy: A picnic area at Bulli Tops Lookour near to where the incident occurred.

A man has been arrested and charged after allegedly launching an anti-Islamic tirade at a family enjoying a picnic near Wollongong yesterday.

Police were called to the Bulli Tops Lookout on the Princes Highway near Wollongong following reports a man had verbally abused a large family group shortly before 1pm.

The family, which included elderly people and several young children, had gathered at the lookout for a Sunday afternoon picnic when the man began hurling abuse at them.

Police were told the man then got into his car and drove circles around the group, coming within just two metres of children.

Officers from Wollongong Police district found the man driving around the car park where he was stopped and arrested.

Police seized a hammer and a boxcutter following a search of the man’s car, neither of which were alleged to have been used during the incident.

Wollongong Police District Commander Superintendent Chris Craner said no family should have to endure such harassment.

This victim, and his family, arrived at the Bulli Tops picnic area. His family consisted of young children … grandparents, cousins, kids – they all turned up to do the Australian thing and have a barbeque on a Sunday afternoon,” Supt Craner said.

“As soon as they arrived the offender in this matter started harassing, threatening and intimidating that family.

“He was screaming anti-Islamic sentiments and bias-related crime threats to that family.”

Supt Craner said the offender was known to police.

It was an unprovoked attack. The family turned up and the offender just turned on them Supt Craner said.

I spoke to the victim this morning and they are quite shaken – the women at the time were crying, there were young kids there.

It’s just a tragic event for what this family has been put through.

The 43-year-old man was taken to Wollongong Police Station where he was charged with intimidation and driving in a dangerous manner.

He was refused bail and is due to appear in Wollongong Local Court today.

Supt Craner urged anyone who witnessed the incident and has not yet spoken to police to come forward.

Our investigation is continuing, and given yesterday’s weather, we know the lookout was busy, so we’d like to speak with anyone who may have been in the area at the time.

In particular, we’d been keen to speak with anyone who has dashcam or mobile phone vision. Information can even be provided confidentially through Crime Stoppers Supt Craner said.