15 January 2024

Alex Ophel awaits finalisation of mental impairment assessment after alleged ANU stabbings

| Albert McKnight
man with glasses in darkened room

Alex Leonard Ophel, 24, was remanded in custody after his arrest over the alleged stabbings. Photo: YouTube.

A report on whether the alleged attempted killer at the Australian National University (ANU) is mentally impaired has not yet been provided to lawyers, which means the matter will not progress for another two months.

Alex Leonard Ophel allegedly stabbed two women and assaulted two men at the university on 18 September 2023.

The then-24-year-old was charged with attempted murder over the incident and the ACT Magistrates Court has previously heard that the matter was heading towards a mental impairment issue.

The case returned to court on Monday (15 January), and while Ophel, who is in custody, didn’t appear in person, one of the alleged stabbing victims did, along with a member of her family.

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Ophel has been undertaking a mental health assessment.

“At this stage, we’re still awaiting the finalisation of a mental impairment assessment,” his lawyer, Tim Sharman of Tim Sharman Solicitors, said on Monday.

He said he hoped the lawyers could indicate how the matter would move forward when it was next mentioned in court.

He also asked for his client to be excused from appearing in court in person on the next occasion.

The matter was adjourned to 14 March and Ophel was excused from appearing in person unless he was required.

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Police allege that at about 2:45 pm on 18 September, a man had gone to the grounds of the ANU and attacked four students.

It is alleged he repeatedly stabbed two 20-year-old women with a knife and assaulted two male students, aged 34 and 19, with a frypan or by punching them in the face.

One of the women was left with critical injuries and both were taken to hospital. The women left hospital in October 2023.

Bachelor of Arts student Ilysha Perry was one of the women who was seriously injured in the attack.

Her mother, Fiona Coffrey, later told media that while she will hopefully recover, “she’ll never be the same”.

Ophel has been charged with two counts of attempted murder, two counts of assault and a single count of possessing an object with the intent to cause harm. No pleas have been entered.

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