by Mitchell Crawley
A BYANGUM man has spoken of his terrifying experience of nearly losing an arm after confronting a violent home invader armed with a Stanley knife who he believes was high on drugs.
Rocco Gioffre, 63, said his young German Shepherd, Zia, was "probably” what saved him after he returned home early last Friday afternoon and found the man in his home.
"I'd just gone down the road and come back,” he said this week, with his arm set in a cast following four hours of surgery.
"I walked towards the house and he was in the office. I've seen him there and asked, 'what the f**k are you doing here?'
"With that he came towards me, lunged forward and sliced me. My reaction was to punch him and I punched him in the ribs. I've got a pretty good shot and I think I've either broken or at least done some serious damage to the ribs.”
The ordeal didn't end there. The former security guard said his dogs set chase after the man, one either "puncturing his calf or ripping it” before the intruder jumped the fence and fled up Kyogle Rd towards Uki.
"There was blood everywhere,” said Mr Gioffre, who is on blood-thinning medication for a heart condition.
"I was going to chase after him but I knew I was losing too much blood and needed to do something about it.
"I walked in the shed but couldn't find anything there, so I've come out and grabbed a towel off the line and wrapped it round and headed next door and the neighbour's put another towel around it for me.”
Mr Gioffre's neighbours woke from an afternoon nap after hearing yelling.
"He landed over at our back door with a towel around his arm and blood dripping,” said Ronald McDonald, who has lived in the area his entire life.
"He said 'I've been attacked',” recalled his wife, Colleen, who drove the victim to hospital after the incident.
Ms McDonald said Byangum had always been a peaceful part of the Tweed Valley, but believes in recent years there has been an increase in break-ins.
Julie Stephenson, Mr Gioffre's partner, said the road was one of the main routes to Nimbin and believed people hooked on drugs were causing the problem.
Police appealed for information following the attack, which happened 5km from Murwillumbah, on Kyogle Rd at about 1.30-2pm.
Tweed Byron LAC Chief Detective Inspector Brendon Cullen said there was no evidence reflecting a spike in similar crimes, but urged people to report instances.
The offender is Caucasian, 35-40-years-old, slim build, 183cm tall, long light-brown hair and a scruffy beard. He was wearing a dark cap, jeans and a dark t-shirt. Phone Crime Stoppers 1800333000.