A QUEENSLAND man who says he survived two yowie attacks has pleaded guilty to bashing his neighbour.

Leading cryptozoologist Dean Harrison, 48, pleaded guilty to assault occasioning bodily harm in Southport Magistrates Court yesterday after punching his neighbour at least seven times after he had been knocked out cold.

DOES TWEED HAVE ITS OWN BLACK PANTHER?

The court heard Harrison made a number of complaints about his neighbour's dogs barking, which was so bad he couldn't sleep some nights, in the months before the assault.

Harrison and his neighbour exchanged mobile phone numbers so they could communicate about the dogs.

Dean Harrison has since being stalked by a Yowie in Ormeau sought to prove their existence. SUPPLIED PIC
Dean Harrison has since being stalked by a Yowie in Ormeau sought to prove their existence. SUPPLIED PIC

But the issue came to a head on January 20 this year when Harrison began filming one of his neighbour's friends playing in the pool next door, which had set the dogs off barking.

Following a text message from Harrison, the victim walked next door with his mother to discuss the issue.

The court heard Harrison said: "I paid $1.8 million for this house, I shouldn't have to put up with this".

Video footage played in court showed the pair having a calm conversation before Harrison lashed out.

Do yowies exist?
Do yowies exist?

The victim was punched another seven times as he fell to the ground, where he remained unconscious for one to two minutes, the court heard.

Harrison's neighbour was walked home by his mother before being taken to Gold Coast University Hospital where he received treatment.

Defence barrister Angus Edwards told the court the attack was out of character and Harrison was suffering emotional stress from his 17-year-old daughter's health issues at the time.

Mr Edwards told the court Harrison supplied police with CCTV from his house and had written a letter of apology to his neighbour.

Tourists on the proposed Springbrook Sky Ride could have the extra bonus of spotting a Yowie according to Dean Harrison.
Tourists on the proposed Springbrook Sky Ride could have the extra bonus of spotting a Yowie according to Dean Harrison.

He said Harrison was held in high esteem in the cryptozoology field, which involves searching for and studying animals which have a disputed or unsubstantiated existence or survival.

Mr Edwards told the court Harrison had travelled as far as the Amazon and the Solomon Islands in his studies which have seen him featured in National Geographic documentaries.

The National Library of Australia had also asked Harrison to submit his work so it can be stored in perpetuity, Mr Edwards said.

Harrison has spoken widely about his belief there are yowies in northern NSW, the Sunshine Coast hinterland and around Ipswich.

Newspaper clippings from the Northern Star (various dates) on Australian Yowie Hunters Website.
Newspaper clippings from the Northern Star (various dates) on Australian Yowie Hunters Website. Jasmine Burke

In 2015, Harrison told The Queensland Times he had twice been almost killed by yowies, the mythical bush creature.

"I nearly got taken down by one at Ormeau in 1997 and that was really scary … it was only by the grace of God that I survived," he said.

Yesterday Harrison was sentenced to 12 month in prison wholly suspended for two years. He was also required to pay the victim $2000 in compensation.

Newspaper clippings from the Northern Star (various dates) on Australian Yowie Hunters Website.
Newspaper clippings from the Northern Star (various dates) on Australian Yowie Hunters Website. Jasmine Burke

WHAT ARE YOWIES?

What is it: Said to be a hairy, apelike creature standing between 2m-3.5m, much like the fabled yeti or Big Foot.

Where do they live, supposedly? Witnesses claim to have seen them or heard their bloodcurdling screams, or found footprints in the rainforests of eastern Australia. Springbrook in the Gold Coast Hinterland is said to be a hot spot.

The Yowie remains an elusive creature in the Ipswich region.
Illustrations by Bill Rasmussen
The Yowie remains an elusive creature in the Ipswich region. Illustrations by Bill Rasmussen Contributed

Will they eat you? "Experts'' generally say the yowie is timid, but some - including Dean Harrison - have told hair-raising tales in the past of being pursued by aggressive apelike animals.

Most high profile witness: Former senator Bill O'Chee, who as a Gold Coast schoolboy was with a bunch of 20 TSS students on camp near Springbrook when they saw what they described as a 3m tall, hair-covered creature. He told the Bulletin in November 1977 the animal approached their camp several times. He has stuck to the story over the decades, saying his memory of that day remains vivid.



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