Veteran fights for life after alleged sword attack
A VIETNAM veteran is in the fight of his life after being allegedly viciously attacked by home invaders wielding a samurai sword in his Townsville home on Friday night.
Brenton Philp, 69, attempted to barricade himself in his Cranbrook home as a man and woman allegedly forced their way inside.
Mr Philp was savagely attacked, he suffered serious head injuries and deep cuts to his arms as he tried to fend off blows, police will allege.
Neighbours heard the commotion and called police, who interrupted the alleged attack, taking Jake Whyte, 23 and Alison Symons, 20, into custody.
Mr Philp remains in a critical condition at Townsville Hospital. It is believed family are flying from interstate to be at his bedside.
Neighbour Mike Long said his own wife suffered a severe medical reaction at the time and was also taken to hospital with chest pain.
"I was scared … I'm in total disbelief," he said. "I saw him, he had cuts on his arms, he is now fighting for his life."
Friend Sharon Rolfe said Mr Philp is a Vietnam veteran who devotes his time to helping other wounded ex-servicemen.
"He's the type of bloke who would do anything for anyone, I think the world of him," she said.
Police will allege Whyte and Symons embarked on a crime spree from about 4.30pm on Friday, when they were picked up by taxi at a pub on Charters Towers Rd.
Police allege when they arrived at their destination the driver was punched in the face, a knife was produced and the taxi was stolen.
It was later found abandoned.
At 9.30pm, a 23-year-old man was allegedly threatened by Whyte wielding a samurai sword in a car park in Hyde Park. The victim's car was allegedly then stolen.
Police saw the car and allege Whyte was waving the sword out the window.
The duo then allegedly targeted Mr Philp's home in Cranbrook.
Inspector Damien Crosby said the alleged assault on Mr Philp was "vicious and cowardly".
Whyte and Symons have been charged with a string of offences. They remain in custody, reportedly in padded cells, and are scheduled to appear in Townsville Magistrates Court tomorrow.