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March 2, 2004

Deaf Rotorua man flooded with support after unprovoked beatings

From: - New Zealand - Mar 2, 2004

Guy Benfield has been inundated with support and generosity since revealing last week he had been the victim of a horrific double attack.

Deaf since birth, Mr Benfield was beaten up twice in one night outside his Rotorua home in unprovoked and brutal attacks.

The assaults, which took place in the early hours of Valentine's Day, followed a shocking run of luck for Mr Benfield and his wife, Delwyn Gainfort.

Mr Benfield was in a car accident 18 months ago which left him with head injuries. Six months later, he was hit by a digger at work, causing concussion and further damage to his head.

Last year the couple was burgled five times in just a few months.

Following last month's beatings, which left him with his jaw broken in two places, he now has to eat through a straw.

He has 18 screws in his mouth in an attempt to wire his jaw together.

But Rotorua has shown generous support to the couple.

Mark Bowie from Waikite Valley Thermal Pools sent the Benfields a complimentary season pass.

Mr Bowie said after what the couple had been through, they deserved a "bit of a break".

Mrs Gainfort said since their plight became public the couple had been sent cards, gifts and best wishes.

"We want to thank everyone for what they have done.

"It really has blown us away," she said.

Police are still looking for what is suspected to be two different groups of men who attacked Mr Benfield in the early hours of February 14.

The first attack took place in the couple's driveway after Mr Benfield returned from a walk.

Semi-conscious, Mr Benfield ended up on the other side of the road from his home where he was beaten again and knocked unconscious.

© Fairfax New Zealand Limited 2004. All rights reserved