man charged over Blue Mountains corflute fracas

A man has been charged with assault after a fracas over political signage in the knife-edge outer Sydney seat of Macquarie turned violent last week, with a grandfather allegedly punched in the head and threatened with death.

Blue Mountains cafe owner and Liberal Party member Kevin Birch, 53, told detectives he was driving when he saw a man in a red jumper removing placards for Liberal candidate Sarah Richards on Wednesday evening in the Blue Mountains town of Lawson.

Candidates Sarah Richards and Susan Templeman.

Candidates Sarah Richards and Susan Templeman.Credit:Rhett Wyman, James Brickwood

When he asked what the man was doing, the man allegedly replied “I don’t like Sarah Richards”, before offering to return the corflute to its place.

Birch said a white Nissan then approached and stopped. A man in a white hoodie allegedly hit him in the face through the window of the car and, after Birch got out, threatened to kill him if he didn’t return to his car.

Birch’s wife called police and handed him the phone to report the car’s registration number, at which point the man then allegedly punched Birch in the head and the back.

Birch told police he grabbed the man by the hood of his jumper and pulled it over his face. He then alleged he was set upon by the man in the red jumper and a woman in her twenties with long dark hair who was with them. The three later fled in two separate cars.

Police said that following an investigation “a 25-year-old man was arrested in Lawson on Thursday and charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm and common assault.“

Investigators are still trying to find the man who was allegedly removing the signs.

The Richmond and Blue Mountains seat of Macquarie is held by Labor’s Susan Templeman on a wafer thin margin of 0.2 per cent.