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Broadcast Engineer king-hit whilst visiting his hometown in regional Victoria.

A night out on the beers with the boys to celebrate a mate’s birthday quickly turned cataclysmic for Nick Payne. In 2018, when the 27-year-old Broadcast Engineer returned to his hometown of Sale, in regional Victoria, he never thought he would be the victim of a cowardly king-hit attack.

Key Points:

  • 27-year-old Broadcast Engineer Nick Payne was king-hit after leaving a local bar when visiting his hometown in regional Victoria in July 2018.

  • The man was lucky to be alive, sustaining injuries to his jaw, mouth, face, and neck.

  • Three years later, the now 30-year-old still battles with the traumatic events from that night.

Nick was walking down the main street of Sale after leaving Jack Ryan’s Irish pub in the early hours of the morning on the 28th of July 2018 when he suddenly noticed a large group of men aggressively sprinting towards him.

Turning into an alleyway, Nick prepared to diffuse the situation, but the group of men quickly surrounded him.

“It was a very tense situation. I was alone, and as the guys surrounded me, I said, let’s not do this, let’s not fight, there is no need for this.”

When the 27-year-olds friends arrived at the alleyway, they were unaware of what was transpiring and oblivious to the aggressive situation which was rapidly unfolding. Then everything went black.

“It’s what I pictured death like. It was nothing; it was empty. I wasn’t thinking; I wasn’t dreaming; I wasn’t conscious. The only things I remember was choking and hearing someone screaming, 'What the f**k have you done? You’ve killed him'."

Nick began to regain consciousness and woke discombobulated as his friend James Zorn dug teeth and blood out of his mouth to prevent choking.

“When I came to, I remember being petrified. I didn’t know where I was or what had happened; I didn’t know who was around me. When I opened my eyes, I was in this dark pool of blood, but I heard James’ voice, and I knew I was safe.”

Paramedics arrived on the scene 20 minutes after the assault transpired and rushed Nick to the hospital. He was lucky to be alive. The injuries sustained from the one-punch attack were mainly cosmetic; several teeth had been knocked out, his jaw was dislocated along with extensive grazing and bruising to his face and neck.

Photograph: Supplied by Nick Payne.

Despite having walked away from the coward punch relatively unscathed, Nick’s overall wellbeing was critical in the months following the incident. He found himself spiralling into a dark and lonely mental state.

The once bright and bubbly young man found himself drinking excessively to drown the memories and emotions which haunted him from that night.

“I remember drinking so much I would vomit, just alone, by myself.”

Three years on, Nick still battles with the traumas from that night. Crowds, bars and clubs remain a daunting concept for the now 30-year-old, but despite the suffering and distress he has endured since the night of the attack, Nick is finally ready to become himself again.

“It’s taken a long time to get to where I am today, and I am definitely on the road to recovery. I have a much better outlook on everything, but now I really want to force myself back into that social scene because I haven’t been myself for the best part of three years. I miss myself. I want to become myself again.”


Nick Payne recounts the events which unfolded on July 28th, 2018.
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