Australian rugby great Toutai Kefu has had emergency surgery in hospital after being stabbed in the stomach in his Brisbane home when he disturbed a burglary.
The former Wallabies player was left in a critical condition while trying to defend his family on Monday morning, and is now at the Princess Alexandra Hospital.
Two 15-year-old boys are in custody, while another juvenile, believed to be a male, fled the scene in Coorparoo shortly after 3am.
Detective Superintendent Tony Fleming said the family woke to noises within the house and Kefu went to investigate.
“That person was accosted by at least one of the offenders in the premises and threatened to be stabbed if they didn’t hand over vehicle keys,” he said.
“Other members of the family came to that person’s aid and during this time, very significant injuries occurred to the family.”
Police allege Kefu suffered “very serious wounds” to his abdomen and three other people were injured in the attack. A man in his 20s suffered abdominal and back lacerations, a woman in her 40s significantly injured her arm, and a teenage girl was left with a hand injury.
Dr Stephen Rashford, medical director for Queensland Amublance Service, said emergency crews were dispatched following calls from police to attend a mass-casualty wounding.
“Two of the family members were transported to hospital in priority condition,” he said.
“This was an incredibly frightening occurrence for this family and this level of violence is unacceptable in our society.
Police were told neighbours came to the aid of the family and caught one of the offenders, who was armed with a knife.
That teen was arrested, and police retrieved a knife and an axe at the crime scene and also believe a machete was used, though it wasn’t recovered.
Another of the boys was arrested by police and is under guard after presenting to the Princess Alexandra Hospital with a laceration.
The person who drove that teen to hospital is wanted by police over their suspected involvement in the alleged home invasion.
It’s also alleged the pair had been out on bail under curfew conditions.
In the early hours of Monday, a silver Hyundai iX35 was stolen from the Forest Lake area and police believe this was the car used to take the offenders to Kefu’s property.
“I do expect that we will be looking at offences of burglary, and as a result of the allegations and the wounds and the nature of the information known to us, attempted murder on the family,” Detective Superintendent Fleming said.
“We have a large number of officers dedicated to this now and we will be working to take these people in custody and I expect that we will be making the strongest objection to the court that they remain in custody.”
Police could not confirm whether the juvenile offenders were equipped with GPS trackers under their bail conditions .
“I certainly haven’t been told that they were on GPS trackers and if they were, I would expect that I would know that,” Detective Superintendent Fleming said.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk passed on her thoughts and prayers to Kefu and his family, while members of the rugby community have also paid tribute to him.
Kefu played 60 Tests for Australia over a seven-year career.