10 September 2023

Alleged knife-attack nearly severed man's finger, among other wounds

| Albert McKnight
ACT Law Courts Photo: Michelle Kroll Region Media

Martin Ashly Chatfield has been handed several charges related to an alleged knife attack. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

WARNING: Graphic content.

A tapping on the window heralded a mask-wearing intruder bursting into a home and launching a knife attack on a man, leaving him with numerous cut wounds over his body, police allege.

Martin Ashly Chatfield, a 29-year-old from Richardson, is alleged to have been behind the attack on 3 July 2023.

The man and a woman had been at a home in Charnwood early that morning when they heard tapping on the window, police said in court documents.

The woman threw a blanket over him before it is alleged Chatfield, a person she knows, entered the room while wearing a mask or balaclava and carrying three knives.

She told him to leave, but he allegedly flipped a lounge over and started hitting the man under the blanket.

Chatfield then allegedly started swinging a fishing knife at the man, slicing his hands while he tried to defend himself.

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Meanwhile, it is alleged the woman smashed a vase onto Chatfield’s back, allowing the man time to escape. Chatfield then allegedly punched her in the face before fleeing.

Police arrived at the home to find what appeared to be blood over the floor and walls, but the woman and man had gone to a friend’s house.

The man was ultimately taken to hospital for surgery and described one of his fingers as “hanging on by a thread” while another had been “shredded”.

He also had wounds to his thumb, wrist, cheek and forearm, and said he had thought he was going to die.

A few days later, on 6 July, police saw Chatfield in a taxi in Belconnen. When they tried to arrest him, he allegedly punched one officer in the head and ran away, then elbowed another officer in the eye when he caught up with him.

Chatfield has been handed numerous charges, including intentionally inflicting grievous bodily harm, aggravated burglary and assault.

On Friday (8 September), his lawyer, Sam Lynch from the Aboriginal Legal Service, asked the ACT Magistrates Court to grant him day bail so he could attend his sister-in-law’s funeral at Tumut in NSW. The prosecution opposed this application.

Mr Lynch said his client had been granted day bail on another occasion and had returned himself to court afterwards.

He also said Chatfield was defending himself against the allegations and was contesting his charges.

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However, Magistrate Glenn Theakston said the allegations were “just so very, very serious” and noted the significant injuries to the man.

He said he would be very concerned if Chatfield was released from custody at this stage, especially as his emotions may be heightened due to the upcoming funeral.

He was also concerned about the likelihood he may offend if released and could not see how bail conditions could address the risks.

The application for day bail was refused. The matter is next before the court on 15 September.

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