2019's top 10 stories: Okanagan Beach Attack

5. Okanagan Beach attack

Castanet is counting down the top stories of 2019.

We’ll count down to the year’s No. 1 story on Dec. 31 and publish the newsmaker on New Year’s Day.

News of the assault first broke on social media. A man had been attacked at a spring campfire on Okanagan Lake Beach, leaving him in a coma, sparking outrage in Penticton.

The May 3 aggravated assault on Bradley Eliason, 28, alleged by police to have been carried out by 22-year-old Thomas Kruger-Allen, is Castanet Penticton’s fifth biggest story of 2019.

Exactly what the Crown is alleging occurred that night is still covered under a publication ban, but Eliason’s wife Chelcie Townend told Castanet News after the attack her husband was at the beach with a neighbour for a fire.

She said two inebriated men walked over and started harassing some of the youth, particularly a young girl.

Eliason tried to intervene, telling the men to move along.

One of the men punched Eliason, causing him to fall back and hit his head on the concrete. Eliason spent weeks in a coma, took about a month to speak again before finally being discharged from hospital in late July. He, however, continued to struggle with seizures and surgeries. Townend said her husband was very nearly killed by the attack.

Thomas Kruger-Allen was charged in connection to the incident with aggravated assault, sexual assault and two counts of common assault.

At the time of the alleged attack, Kruger Allen had been out on bail for a group assault outside the Mule Nightclub in August 2017. He was sentenced for that assault in July, avoiding jail with a four-month conditional sentence and 18 months of probation.

He was also granted bail after the Okanagan Beach incident, ordered to live at a property owned by his mother and abide by a curfew.

Kruger-Allen is, however, back in jail after being arrested in October on seven new counts: assault causing bodily harm, break and enter and uttering threats for an incident alleged to have occurred on Oct. 19 in Penticton. He makes his next court appearance on January 6.

A GoFundMe campaign launched for Eliason and Townend in the wake of the beach assault raised $6,960.

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