News

Destroyed on social media ... cleared in court

CHARGES DROPPED: After being accused of attacking a girl with a mug at Schoolies Kate Nicole Szepanowski this week had the charges dropped.
CHARGES DROPPED: After being accused of attacking a girl with a mug at Schoolies Kate Nicole Szepanowski this week had the charges dropped. Claudia Baxter

WHEN pictures depicting a bloody attack on a teenage girl began circulating at schoolies last year social media erupted.

NSW schoolie Izzy Ruger accused Ipswich teenager Kate Nicole Szepanowski of bashing her with a coffee cup, leaving her covered in blood in a Gold Coast hotel. When Ms Ruger posted the picture to Facebook and posted a picture of Miss Szepanowski it went viral.

Miss Szepanowski, 19, said she started receiving abuse, death threats online and was even told to kill herself.

"I was told to find the highest building and jump off it," Miss Szepanowski said.

"People just found out who I was and decided I was guilty without knowing the truth."

This week Miss Szepanowski heard the words she'd been waiting nine months for.

The police prosecution offered no evidence and said Ms Ruger was dropping the charges.

While she walked out of the Southport Magistrate Court with her name cleared, she remains scarred from the online attacks and abuse.

Miss Szepanowski, who works as a medical receptionist, said she was at the Gold Coast not as a schoolie, but was spending time with friends who had graduated from high school.

She said her decision to go to schoolies with her friends was a one she now regretted.

Miss Szepanowski told the QT she got into a fight with Ms Ruger on the night, who she said came into the hotel room and refused to go.

"I told her to leave, and she said 'Don't tell me to get out' and got up and pushed me," she said.

"I was drinking out of a mug at the time, and I pushed her back with it and dropped it. And there was a bit of a fight.

"My boyfriend at the time had to pull her off me."

She said soon after Ms Ruger posted the photo to social media.

"She posted some stuff on Facebook and she tagged all the different schoolies groups and that's when it went viral," she said.

"Before I shut down my Facebook people got a hold of this photo of me and my best friend, and they were saying 'These are the two girls'."

"Social media was pretty much like a tidal wave."

Miss Szepanowski said after having the charges hanging over her head for months she'd begun to feel like she'd been beaten.

But she said it was worth it to hear the police say on Wednesday the charges were being dropped.

"It was such a relief," she said.

"It was like the best feeling to hear those words.

"Even though I knew it was coming. Such a relief."

Topics:  editors picks facebook social media



Shorten's national caucus for Australia's first people

QUICK VISIT: Federal member for Oxley Milton Dick hosted Opposition Leader Bill Shorten at Hymba Yumba Community Hub in Springfield where they met with indigenous students and announced plans to form a national caucus aimed at increasing representation, voter enrolment and party representation among Australia's first people.

Opposition leader visits students at Hymba Yumba

NAME AND SHAME: Intoxicated driver cops $1100 fine

IN COURT: A man was fined more than $1000 for driving under the influence at Redbank.

Every Monday the QT publishes the names of drink and drug drivers

'Let's stop apologising for Ipswich'

Ipswich Mall, 2016.

The sooner we stop indulging stereotypes, the sooner they'll stop

Local Partners

MKR rocked by satay sauce cheating scandal

WE ALL know what satay sauce is, right? Alyse and Matt didn't when they served it up on their MKR restaurant. Slammed by everyone, their reaction was gold.

'Nasty' Married At First Sight groom ripped apart on TV

Anthony gets torn down during the Married At First Sight commitment ceremony.

MAFS groom Anthony faces the music after fiery dinner party.

MOVIE REVIEW: Matt Damon's The Great Wall gets lost

Matt Damon fails in a scene from the movie The Great Wall.

Did The Great Wall get lost in translation?

Paul Murray listens to regions

Paul Murray is taking his Sky News show on the road to shine a spotlight on regional Australia.

Radio broadcaster wants viewers to 'turn up and fire up'

Why Hollywood’s siding with Brad Pitt over Angelina Jolie

Jolie may have the kids, but Pitt has custody of Hollywood

Tensions high at pointy end of MKR's round two

Things are really heating up on My Kitchen Rules.

Games are being played around the My Kitchen Rules table

Jungle Jay sent packing from I'm a Celebrity

I'm A Celebrity ... Get Me Out Here! contestant Jay Laga'aia with Keira.

BIG friendly giant Jay Laga'aia has been eliminated from I'm A Celeb

Expert: Why renters, home buyers may struggle

Matusik Property Insights director Michael Matusik.

What's next for the city's housing market

Massive seaside development of 3200 lots

DESIRABLE LIFESTYLE: The masterplan for the proposed Elliott Heads Estate.

"There's nothing else left along the coastline of Queensland now"

Potential home buyers punished for doing the 'right thing'

Should I go to university or buy a house?

50 more high rise buildings planned for Brisbane CBD

Height limits have been scrapped for Brisbane CBD

800,000 more people expected to work in city over next 20 years

This new property trend is emerging in Ipswich

Darren Boettcher.

Property owners seizing new opportunity

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!