Additional police, teaching staff after Rachel Middleton attack

Senior police and educational staffers will be sent to Queensland’s Cape York after a young teacher was stabbed in a random attack in a remote community on Tuesday.

A 25-year-old teacher, identified by the Courier Mail as Rachel Middleton, was slashed across the face and stabbed repeatedly in the torso, arms and legs by a man in the Lockhart River on Tuesday night.

Police say the attack, which took place in Ms Middleton’s home, was unprovoked and charged a man with grievous bodily harm and common assault.

Speaking from Townsville on Thursday morning, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said senior education and police staff were being sent to the Cape, saying teachers at the school in the Indigenous community of 724 people did not want it to close.

“I wish that teacher a speedy recovery. Just hearing the details was horrific. No one in their workplace should be confronted with that kind of violence. I have asked the director-general of education to make a personal call to her today to ensure she is OK,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

“Secondly, I can advise that the teachers at the school do not want the school to close, they are very very committed. So we are sending up a senior education principal, Mr Michael Hansen, and we are also sending in a very senior police officer, Acting Inspector Duane Amos.

“They will be going into Lockhart River to give the community and the workforce there, especially those teachers, the added support that they need during this time.”

When asked if she would consider ordering an audit across other parts of the Cape, Ms Palaszczuk said it was a “great idea”.

“The priority needs to be on the Cape. We have seen issues in Aurukun previously, and we acted swiftly there,” she said.

“I really wish that teacher a speedy recovery . My two sisters are teachers, I would not wish this on anybody.”

Ms Middleton was discharged from Cairns Hospital on Wednesday, after she was flown there for urgent medical treatment on Tuesday.

Police allege the armed man knocked on Ms Middleton’s door asking for medication and water at 10.30pm on Tuesday. The young woman went inside her Blady Grass St home to get the man a glass of water, only to be allegedly slashed and stabbed when she returned.

Her 49-year-old neighbour was also allegedly assaulted by the man when he attempted to intervene.

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