Jail for axing partner’s legs

Jon SolmundsonGeraldton Guardian
Geraldton Courthouse.
Camera IconGeraldton Courthouse.

A 43-year-old Spalding man has pleaded guilty to breaking his partner’s legs with an axe, leaving her unable to call an ambulance until he fell asleep.

On June 22, Brett Bruce Abbott was with the 37-year-old victim, with whom he’d been in an on-again-off-again relationship for more than 20 years, drinking in her house.

A verbal argument broke out between the couple, which quickly became physical and the victim tried to leave.

Abbott, in an attempt to prevent her from leaving, retrieved a small wooden hatchet and repeatedly chopped the victim’s legs, leaving deep lacerations to both her knees, fracturing her ankle and leg bones.

Scared for her safety, the victim was unable to call an ambulance until Abbott had fallen asleep, but when the ambulance did arrive she was taken straight to hospital.

In District Court at Geraldton on Monday, State prosecutor John Myers said the injuries left the victim bound to a wheelchair for six weeks.

Abbott’s lawyer Xavier Sellathambu said his client had no memory of what happened on that night because of his severe intoxication.

Mr Sellathambu said Abbott had a clear problem with alcohol, having drunk three casks of wine on the night of the offence. Abbott also had a family history of alcohol abuse and domestic violence, with Mr Sellathambu recounting one instance in which Abbott’s father had got into a similar state of drunken rage and hit his mother over the back of the head with a big stick.

“Mr Abbott appreciates how serious this offence is,” he said.

“He contacted the hospital immediately after waking up.

“I would submit this is indicative of some remorse.”

Judge Patrick O’Neal disagreed, however, raising the point that if Abbott was so intoxicated he couldn’t remember the events, he wouldn’t have reason to call the hospital in remorse. He said the injuries were very serious but fortunately it appeared the victim had made a full recovery.

“The report I’ve received about you could not be described as encouraging,” he said to Abbott.

“You remain at significant risk of reoffending.

“The victim was rendered helpless by you and unable to escape.”

The maximum penalty for committing an act which endangers life, health or safety is 20 years in jail.

Abbott was sentenced to three years, 10 months jail, backdated to June 23. He was made eligible for parole, making his earliest possible release in May, 2018.

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