‘I’M TOO YOUNG TO DIE’: Boy’s terror as footy star rampages
A YOUNG boy cowered with fear as he hid from rampaging NRL footballer Matthew Lodge and told him: "I'm too young to die."
Lodge, 22, was arrested by New York police officers at gunpoint after a violent home invasion in New York City in 2015.
The victims of Lodge's October 2015 attack, Joseph Cartright and Ruth Fowler, claim he has yet to express remorse or attempt to pay the $1.6 million ordered by a US civil court.
And in a new interview, shown last night on ABC's 7.30, the couple told of the devastating effect the incident had on their young son.
"We were afraid for our lives, Henry and I in that bathroom. We could hear this sound of this huge man in our apartment, breaking things, hitting the door. He was incoherent. My husband was locked out of the apartment - I didn't know when help was going to come, and I'm sure that will stick with us for the rest of our lives," Ms Fowler said.
She told her son he had to hide and watched him shake uncontrollably with fear.
"Our nine-year-old son said to [Lodge]: 'I'm too young to die.' That's how frightened he was," Mr Cartright said.
"He still suffers from it greatly. He still suffers from trauma ... A doorbell rings and he questions what's happening, he still has night terrors, loud noises wake him up and he's frightened - so it's not been great."
The terrifying drama began about 4am on October 16, 2015. A German tourist, Carolin Dekeyser, randomly rang the intercom while being physically harassed and threatened on the street by Lodge who told her: "Do you think you're going to die? This is the night you're going to die."
Mr Cartright got out of bed to let Ms Dekeyser into the lobby, but Lodge - who is playing for the Brisbane Broncos this season - followed her inside, physically assaulted Mr Cartright and went into his apartment, locked Mr Cartright out and began destroying furniture and smashing plates.
It was then he tried to punch his way through a bathroom door where Ms Fowler and her son were hiding.
The couple insist they don't want to "ruin his life" - but they do want him to take responsibility.
"If rugby is his life then we would be ruining that. We have no interest in that. What we have interest in is taking responsibility for his actions," Mr Cartright said.
Lodge originally faced a long jail sentence, but he pleaded guilty to a reduced misdemeanour reckless assault charge and avoided time behind bars.
Lodge has been caught up in controversy this week as debate rages about whether he is suitable to play in the upcoming NRL season. CCTV footage of the incident emerged on Friday which appalled league fans with its ferocity.
The footage showed him throwing a glass wine bottle at police officers as they entered the apartment with their guns drawn.
Paul Gallen caused a commotion when he indicated his support for Lodge, whose actions weren't as serious - in his view - as assaulting a woman.
"If he's served his time and done everything required of him, how long do we keep punishing him for? I don't know. We've let blokes back in the game who have touched women - or hit women - I wouldn't put him in that class. We got blokes like that still playing so let's just move on."
Brisbane skipper Darius Boyd believes Lodge could make it to the State of Origin arena.
"I definitely believe, without putting too much pressure on him, he's got the attributes and capabilities to play Origin," Boyd told AAP.
Meanwhile, the NRL's gender advisor claims she has been blindsided by the league's handling of Lodge's return and wants to raise the matter with the code's leaders.
Catharine Lumby, who has worked with the NRL since 2004, has raised serious concern's over Lodge's return to first grade in Brisbane.
"The NRL's handling of this case is one that I am concerned about," Lumby told 7.30.
"I will be raising it with them.
"I would like more information and understanding of the rationale behind this because, to be quite frank, I was blindsided by it."
- With AAP