Teenagers in court over attack on British tourist

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The Independent Online

Four teenagers appeared in court today over an attack which left a British tourist in Australia needing brain surgery.

Mark Willis from Glasgow was assaulted after he got off a bus in the Rockdale area of Sydney with his girlfriend at about 3.25am local time yesterday.

The 25-year-old was allegedly struck several times on the head and fell to the ground, where he struck his head on the footpath and was knocked unconscious.

He was admitted to St George Hospital in Sydney for emergency neurosurgery.

His condition was described as serious but stable.

New South Wales Police arrested four teenage boys, who appeared at Parramatta Children's Court today in connection with the attack.

One aged 13 was charged with affray and recklessly causing grievous bodily harm, a court spokeswoman said.

A second 13-year-old was charged with affray, common assault and robbery armed with an offensive weapon.

A 17-year-old was charged with affray and robbery armed with an offensive weapon and a 16-year-old was charged with affray.

All four were refused bail and will appear again at court on May 20.

Mr Willis's 26-year-old girlfriend Jane McLean was not injured in the incident.

The couple have been in Australia since November, based in Sydney, and planned to return to Scotland in July.

His brother John Willis, 28, said: "He was having a great time and really enjoying himself. He had plans for making the most of his time there.

"He was going to go travelling and go to Thailand.

"He is quite adventurous. It was just an adventure for them."

He said the family was making plans to go to Australia to be at Mr Willis's side, but had nothing organised as yet.

He said last night: "We are not doing great."

A Foreign Office spokeswoman said: "We can confirm that a British citizen was attacked in Sydney on April 7 and has since been hospitalised in a serious condition.

"Consular officials are in contact with local authorities who are investigating and we have offered consular assistance."