A man left with serious injuries after being brutally bashed near a Melbourne train station has been revealed as a senior police officer.
Assistant Commissioner Chris O’Neill, 60, remains in the Epworth Hospital with head and rib injuries after he was assaulted by two young men on the grounds of St Kevin’s College in Toorak about 5.30pm on Saturday.
Police said the “drunk or drug-affected” men, aged 18 and 19, had been asked to leave a train at the nearby Heyington Station due to their disruptive behaviour.
Assistant Commissioner Bob Hill told 3AW radio this morning the men were “vomiting and urinating in the carriage” before they were escorted off the train after passengers raised their concerns.
“When they left the train they went to a gate that adjoins or leads into St Kevin’s College and they were walking through the college and by chance ran into Chris O’Neill, who was also there off-duty,” Asst Comm. Hill said.
Because Asst Comm. O’Neill did not disclose he was an officer his attackers cannot be charged with assaulting police, Asst Comm. Hill said.
They may still face serious assault charges.
Detectives have identified the men, who are known to police, but are yet to find them and they are urged to hand themselves in.
“We know who they are and we have spoken to their family and associates and I understand they are actively avoiding apprehension at this point in time,” Asst Comm. Hill said.
In his role, Asst Comm. O’Neill is in charge of transit police and Protective Service Officers.
Inspector Stephen O’Donnell said yesterday the victim was “shocked and upset” by the attack and is meeting with neurosurgeons to assess his head injuries.
“Victoria Police considers it to be absolutely abhorrent,” he said.
“It’s a situation where people should be able to take public transport and not feel unsafe on the train.
“To be seriously injured as a result of that (attack) is quite disgusting.”
Anyone who recognises the men or who witnessed the incident is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.