A witness to a "brutal" beating in a Nelson apartment block says police have failed its residents.
The alleged assault took place at Franklyn Village at 9:30am on Thursday.
"I was just waking up and I heard banging, and this person came out and there was just blood everywhere, there were holes in the walls," the anonymous witness told Newshub.
"He had lost a tooth, he was concussed," the witness continued.
The witness claims the man who was beaten is mentally disabled and vulnerable.
"He wouldn't hurt a fly. It's tragic. People who are vulnerable, they can so easily be exploited by bad people,"
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Police say a 19-year-old man has been arrested and charged with common assault after the beating. But before he appears in court next week, he has been remanded on bail.
Police confirmed the 19-year-old had been released from custody after being charged.
The witness told Newshub the man has returned to Franklyn Village, and is within sight of the housing complex.
"He's on the corner of the street, and I've heard he's coming after me," the witness told Newshub on Thursday.
They say they know "for a fact" the offender is a gang member - although Newshub has not been able to verify this - and they've had run-ins before, just a night previous.
"I had told police the night before, because this person had come into my room, and taken some money from me," they told Newshub.
Police confirmed they had received a report of stolen money the night before and attended the callout - but no one was taken into custody.
"Police came round and spoke to him, but they didn't arrest him. They told me it wasn't the outcome they had hoped for," the witness said.
The witness told Newshub they don't want to call the police again, as they claim "it's not taken seriously."
"In some situations where defendants get bail, the witness dies."
They feel trapped, and Franklyn Village is "Nelson's poverty."
"You come out [of your room] and there's blood seeping through the walls from where people have been beaten,"
But they claim the problem isn't taken seriously enough.
"The police aren't there to defend us. We defend ourselves."
Police say they do take all reports of this nature "extremely seriously".
"Our role is to ensure our communities are safe, and feel safe," a spokesperson told Newshub.
The 19-year-old will appear in the Nelson District Court on Tuesday.