Wolfmaan Note: This is scary stuff, especially with my big Bruce Trail hike coming up in just a few weeks…
Another attack on trail
It’s too soon to know if there’s any connection between a midday stabbing along a Twelve Mile Creek hiking trail Tuesday and a series of muggings nearby last fall, police say. A man was beaten and stabbed shortly after 11:30 a. m. as he walked on the Merritt Trail on the west side of the river near Martindale Road and Violet Street.
Witnesses who found the injured man along the trail said he reported being struck over the head and stabbed a couple of times in the lower body.
Niagara Regional Police said the man was attacked from behind by two men who hit him in the back and neck with a metal object.
He was then punched, kicked and stabbed with a knife, police said.
The victim was robbed of an undisclosed amount of money.
He was taken to St. Catharines General Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
Hikers Frank and Ruth Hampson were in the midst of one of their regular trail-cleaning walks when they spotted the wounded man lying at the bottom of a steep embankment.
The couple noticed a wallet and a small satchel on the ground at the edge of the trail and then saw the man in the brush, close to the water’s edge.
“I said, ‘Are you OK?’ And he said, ‘No, I’m bleeding. I’ve
been stabbed’,” Frank recounted, as firefighters and paramedics worked on the victim. The injured man called 911 himself with a cellphone, but asked the couple to stay on the trail until help arrived, Frank said.
St. Catharines firefighters and Niagara EMS paramedics used ropes and a basket stretcher to carry the victim up the embankment he had fallen down after the attack. Police scoured the area for suspects with a search dog, but came up cold.
Last fall, cyclists and hikers were targeted by muggers on another section of recreational trail along the same creek a couple of kilometres away.
At the time, police said they believed there were links between the three incidents in September, including one violent robbery and two attempted muggings.
All three involved several young males preying on victims using the trail, near the foot of the Burgoyne Bridge.
In one case, a cyclist managed to escape after being beaten with a baseball bat by three men only to be confronted by three more men a couple hundred metres away, including one armed with an axe.
No arrests were made in the incidents.
But police said more investigation is required to determine if there are any ties to the latest trail assault.
“It’s probably something where people will draw conclusions, but it is still really early,” NRP spokeswoman Jacquie Forgeron said. “They still have to get (the victim’s) statement. There’s still so much work
The attack left some neighbouring residents unsettled and worried about the safety of using the popular recreational trail.
“I wouldn’t (hike) it by myself, ever,” Ruth Hampson said.
Violet Street resident Francis Skrzeszewski said it’s fairly common for young people to party along the trail at night, but it’s also well used by families, cyclists and joggers.
“There’s been some wackos down there before, but I’ve never seen anything like this,” he said. Police are appealing for anyone with information about Tuesday’s
assault to call 905- 688-4111, ext. 4272 or leave and anonymous tip through Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.