Man with cancer steps in to save bash victim

Last Updated 25 March 2014, 16:25 IST

A man battling with cancer unwittingly saved the life of a badly bashed man in New Zealand because he did not want to be guilty of the ''bystander effect".

David Batchelor, who was diagnosed with cancer, was sitting in his car on Central Road in Kingsland, Auckland, in when he witnessed a brutal assault, The New Zealand Herald reported.

He picked the victim up off the road and drove him to Auckland City Hospital's emergency department, which police say saved his life. The victim had a near-fatal break to his neck and any movement could have killed or paralysed him.

At the time Batchelor, a 22-year-old master's degree student, did not think much of his efforts and only realised how serious the situation he had intervened in was when police released a photograph of him from hospital security footage and appealed for him to come forward.

"The street was empty and I was sitting in the car texting. I saw three people walking up the street," he told the daily when contacted.

He then saw one of the men assault another. That man pleaded guilty to the assault in the Auckland district court but disputes some of the facts of the case. A disputed facts hearing will be held before he is sentenced.

Batchelor said the assault left the victim unconscious on the road.

"I waited until the (offender) walked past my car and then I got out to see if the (victim) was okay," he said.

He considered calling 111 but decided it was quicker to take the victim to hospital himself.
After being diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma in September Batchelor was undergoing chemotherapy and not feeling well.

But he did not hesitate to help the victim.

"Why did I do what I did? I was concerned about the whole bystander effect and I didn't want to be part of that.

"And I was the one sitting there who saw it, so I was responsible," he said. "I couldn't just sit there."

When he knew police were looking for him, primarily to give a statement to support the prosecution of the offender, he came forward as soon as possible.

(Published 25 March 2014, 16:25 IST)

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