By ABC. This story appeared on RNZ.co.nz. Kaniva republishes RNZ stories under partnership agreement.
Queensland Police have charged a 15-year-old boy with four counts of attempted murder, after an alleged violent attack on former Wallabies No.8 Toutai Kefu and his family in Brisbane.
The boy has also been charged with three counts of grievous bodily harm, and one count each of unlawful use of a motor vehicle, break and enter, burglary and deprivation of liberty.
Another 15-year-old boy is in custody.
Detective Superintendent Tony Fleming said it was understood one of the family members woke to noise about 3.15am and went to investigate.
He said the “brutal and violent” attack was allegedly carried out with an axe, knife and machete.
Police have alleged the person was accosted by at least one of the offenders in the premises on Buena Vista Avenue in Coorparoo and they were threatened with being stabbed if they did not hand over vehicle keys.
“Other members of the family then came to that person’s aid and during that time very significant injuries occurred to the family,” Detective Superintendent Fleming said.
Kefu, the Tongan national team coach, underwent surgery for very serious wounds to his abdomen after being stabbed.
“His initial condition was described as critical, but expected to survive,” Detective Superintendent Fleming said.
“The mother has suffered very, very serious lacerations to her arm and I’m told her wounds are very significant.”
The Kefus’ children, his 21-year-old son and 18-year-old daughter, were also injured.
Their son sustained significant wounds to his arm and back and one of his daughters has cuts to her hand and arm.
Police told media they located a knife and axe and believe a machete was also used.
They do not believe the attack was targeted.
Police said three juveniles were involved in the incident.
Police said Kefu’s family remained in hospital.
“Mr Kefu is out of surgery and is stable now,” Detective Superintendent Fleming said.
“His son is still receiving treatment as I understand and there’s more treatment for Mrs Kefu and their daughter that will continue tomorrow.”
Neighbours came to family’s aid, apprehended suspect
Detective Superintendent Fleming said neighbours came to the family’s aid and assisted in apprehending one of the alleged offenders, who was armed with a knife.
“All credit to those neighbours for coming to the aid of the family,” he said.
Police arrived shortly after and arrested one suspect.
He was taken to the watch house but has since been transferred to hospital to be checked for Covid-19 after coughing.
Another suspect presented at Princess Alexandra Hospital with cuts and has since been arrested and is under police guard at the hospital.
Officers have since attempted to intercept a silver Hyundai i35 they allege was used by the offenders to travel to the scene.
Police alleged the car was stolen from Forest Lake where a woman had tried to stop the car being taken and was “shoved over”.
Detective Superintendent Fleming told ABC Radio Brisbane that police were still searching for the vehicle.
“This Hyundai iX35, a silver one, remains outstanding at the moment, we’d really appreciate any members of the community who find that,” he said.
“It did have registration 435 VJP on it, it was seen shortly afterwards in the Goodna area, we believe it then headed towards the Inala area but where it is now, we don’t know.”
Detective Superintendent Tony Fleming said a third person of interest had been located.
“Whether they’re sufficient to charge him remains to be determined but the investigations are ongoing there,” he said.
Forensic officers remain at the scene as investigations continue.
Queensland Rugby Union (QRU) said it had been made aware of “a shocking incident” involving Mr Kefu.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with Toutai and his family at this time,” the QRU said.
“We offer our support to them and the wider Queensland rugby community who are affected by the incident.”
Kefu played 60 tests in the forwards for Australia in a seven-year international career.
The 47-year-old made his debut for the Wallabies against South Africa in 1997 in Pretoria.
In 2001, he scored the match-winning try against the All Blacks that also gave Australia victory in the Bledisloe Cup.
He finished as the most capped Wallaby number eight of all time (58 tests).
He was appointed head coach of the Tongan national rugby side in 2016 and coached the squad through to the 2019 World Cup in Japan.
He was reappointed Tongan head coach earlier this year.
Kefu is also assistant coach of the first 15 at Iona College at Wynnum West on Brisbane’s bayside.