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Michael McEwen: My memory is completely wiped

Bashed in Bondi: Victim Michael McEwen in hospital after the attack.

Bashed in Bondi: Victim Michael McEwen in hospital after the attack. Photo: 60 Minutes

When Bondi bashing victim Michael McEwen opened his eyes, he had no idea where he was or why he was lying in a hospital bed. He had lost two weeks of his life and had no idea how close to death he had come.

The 23-year-old IT consultant has spoken for the first time since he was brutally bashed and stomped on outside a beachside kebab store on December 14.

Mr McEwen said his main fear was that he would never walk again. But, against all odds, he walked out of St Vincent's Hospital surrounded by family and friends in late January.

A scan of Michael's skull.

A scan of Michael's skull. Photo: 60 Minutes

Mr McEwen has told 60 Minutes in an interview that airs on Sunday night that he remembered nothing of the brutal bashing. ''My memory is completely wiped,'' he said.

It was not until he saw his face on the news that reality sank in. ''I mean, at first I just didn't believe it,'' he said. ''It was the news, I think, and my face was on it and it was like 'Bondi bashing victim awakes from coma' and it was like, well, OK.

''I couldn't move my legs. So when I woke up, all I could do was move my hands and tap my feet - and I didn't know whether I'd be able to use them again.''

Mr McEwen's bashing came just weeks before Daniel Christie, 18, was fatally punched in Kings Cross in a similar attack.

Both tragedies have spurred the state government to take a tough stance against alcohol, including the introduction of mandatory eight-year sentences for intoxicated offenders who fatally punch a victim.

Later this month, venues across central Sydney will be forced to stop serving alcohol at 3am and bottle shops statewide will close by 10pm.

Mr McEwen, who was attacked in the early hours of a Saturday on Campbell Parade, said he could not comprehend that he had been randomly attacked. ''It's like the things you see in movies."

He had a verbal altercation with Bondi removalist James Ennis, 24, and walked across the road before being knocked out by an unidentified attacker. While Mr Ennis is not accused of assaulting Mr McEwen, police charged him with affray and breach of bail for his involvement in the earlier argument. After he was refused bail, Mr Ennis spent Christmas and New Year's behind bars.

Mr McEwen's parents, Rob and Louise, were woken at 3.30am by police with the news their son had been attacked and held a bedside vigil while he fought for his life.

"The doctors told us that they needed to do this surgery, once they've done that there's nothing else that they can do,'' Louise McEwen said. ''So Rob and I, we looked at each other, we didn't speak really, we both knew exactly what that meant and the severity of it. That was a very difficult thing to tell the children and our youngest son, Joey. He's 11 and he said to me 'mum, he's tough, he'll make it'.''

For Rob McEwen, the impact of his son's recovery will linger. ''We think it's a miracle, personally.''

The interview will air on Channel Nine's 60 Minutes program at 7.40pm on Sunday.

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