Nick Gilio walks in his street today after being released from hospital with a stab wound. Pic Jenny EvansSource:News Corp Australia
Nick Gilio walks in his street today after being released from hospital with a stab wound. Pic Jenny EvansSource:News Corp Australia

Child the ‘real hero’ in sex attack

A man stabbed while allegedly saving a seven-year-old girl from a horrifying sex attack says the child is the real hero.

Nicola "Nick" Gilio, 46, yesterday spoke to the Daily Telegraph for the first time after being hailed for coming to the rescue, along with hero dentist Jeffrey Stack, 59, an amateur boxer who rushed into the bathroom, punching the alleged offender in the head and knocking him out.

"The little girl is the hero - the mum was also involved and the dentist was there, too," Mr Gilio said.

"The little girl, she is the hero for the minutes she endured before I got there."

It is understood the child was in the bathroom for up to 30 minutes with the naked man before her rescue.

Mr Gilio, yesterday recovering at home in Sydney's south, said he wouldn't reveal further details because police had asked him not to speak.

"We want to make sure this prick gets done," he said.

Blood-curdling screams could be heard from the south Sydney dance studio following the alleged assault of the seven-year-old girl.

Business neighbours of St George Dance Studio in Kogarah told news.com.au of the dramatic scenes when a 54-year-old allegedly assaulted the young dance student and then allegedly lashed out with a surgical scalpel at Gilio as he tried to save her.

Mr Stack, a dentist from the neighbouring Denture and Dental Studio Laboratory, came to Mr Gilio's aid and punched Sampieri in the head, knocking him out.

Emergency services swooped on the studio at about 7.55pm last night. Picture: Damian Hoffman
Emergency services swooped on the studio at about 7.55pm last night. Picture: Damian Hoffman

"Boxing was his passion at university - he was a good boxer and I'm glad it's come in handy," his ex-wife Marie Stack said yesterday.

"He has always been good to children and animals and he would never stand by while someone was getting hurt," Ms Stack said.

The drama began about 7.30pm in the small commercial precinct near Kogarah railway station.

Chicken shop worker Mohamad Hariri was in his family's restaurant across the road celebrating his 24th birthday when they heard screaming.

Mr Hariri told news.com.au that Mr Stack from Denture and Dental Studio Laboratory, which shares a bathroom with the St George Dance studio one flight above the shopping street, had surprised the man while allegedly assaulting the seven-year-old girl.

The dentist told Mr Hariri he saw the man partly undressed.

"The man had his pants halfway down. There was a little girl," Mr Hariri said.

"The dentist began to punch him."

When it was noticed the young girl was missing from Thursday night girls' class, Mr Gilio, a parent of another young student, went looking for her. Moments later he came upon the scene in the communal bathroom and the fight broke out, during which Mr Galio was allegedly stabbed in the abdomen and the back of the neck with the scalpel.

He stumbled out onto Derby St, Kogarah, unaware he was bleeding before he finally collapsed onto the footpath.

Beauty salon owner Rachelle Youssef told news.com.au she heard terrible screams disrupt the normal tapping of the girl dance students from the studio above her shop.

"I heard this awful screaming like two adults fighting and then this really panicked yelling, 'call the police, call the police', over and over," she told news.com.au.

"It was really terrible. I went outside and the man who was stabbed came out bleeding.

"He was talking on the phone and walking and I said 'you have to sit down you have blood coming out'.

"I got Chux superwipes for the bleeding.

"He sat and then he just laid down in shock. He was overwhelmed."

The 54-year-old man was arrested and taken to St George Hospital in a stable condition suffering facial swelling and bruising.

A NSW Police spokesperson said the alleged offender was still under guard in hospital, as of late Friday afternoon. The man has not yet been charged.

The girl was taken to Sydney Children's Hospital for observation.

Detectives interviewed the victim for the first time on Saturday and a police source said her account left investigators shaken.

"What actually happens between her leaving and her being found and what we have thus far, it's pretty bad," the source said.

Police have a man in custody over the incident. Picture: Damian Hoffman
Police have a man in custody over the incident. Picture: Damian Hoffman

Mr Gilio could be formally awarded for his selfless actions by NSW Police as thousands of Australians on social media hailed him as a hero.

This morning, a NSW Police spokesman told news.com.au the alleged attacker, Mr Gilio and the young girl were not known to each other.

Superintendent Julian Griffiths said the accused man had no links to the dance studio.

"It appears to be a random, isolated incident," he said.

Detectives interviewed the victim for the first time on Saturday and a police source said her account left investigators shaken.

"What actually happens between her leaving and her being found and what we have thus far, it's pretty bad," the source said.

The officer praised the actions of the good Samaritans who intervened.

"[Mr Gilio] was aware that the child could not be accounted for and was assisting others in locating her," he said.

He added the girl's safety and welfare was "paramount in this investigation".

ACTiv Elite Performers - a performing arts studio for singers, dancers and actors of all ages and abilities which is based at the same suburb - posted a message of support for the venue this morning saying yesterday was a "very sad day for our industry".

"Our hearts go out to our friends at St George Dance Centre after hearing the news of this senseless and violent attack in our community," the studio wrote on Facebook. "Lots of love to the families, staff and children affected and to the brave man who intervened."

Supt Griffiths told reporters a strikeforce had been set up to investigate the "concerning" matter.

"I think an incident like this will have everyone considering their own personal safety measures," he said.

"We would be encouraging people to continue to show vigilance in public areas or shared facilities."

News.com.au has approached the St George Dance Studio for comment.


More than twice legal limit

More than twice legal limit

Driver caught more than twice the legal alcohol limit

Dinghy found at Abell Point Marina

Dinghy found at Abell Point Marina

Dinghy found at Abell Point Marina

Airport could close if water covers roads

Airport could close if water covers roads

Whitsunday Coast Airport could close if water covers roads.

Local Partners