24 March 2021

'Oh my God, I've stabbed him': Victim knifed in after-dinner attack

| Albert McKnight
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ACT Law Courts

Russell Te-Rangi Walker is facing a trial after he was accused of stabbing a man in Bonython in June 2019. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

An evening with friends in Tuggeranong turned violent when one stabbed a dinner guest in the heart with a kitchen knife.

Court documents reveal Russell Te-Rangi Walker stabbed his victim, then pulled the kitchen knife out of his chest, leaving behind a 15cm wound. He was reportedly shocked by his own actions, crying out: “Oh my God, I’ve stabbed him!”.

Mr Walker, aged in his early 30s, faced a judge-alone trial in the ACT Supreme Court on Wednesday (24 March), after pleading not guilty to a charge of attempted murder.

The agreed facts in the case say Mr Walker was at a home in Bonython on 28 June 2019 where a small group of friends, including the 41-year-old victim, were having dinner.

The victim said he thought Mr Walker looked at him “all funny” and said something like he thought he was trying to take away Mr Walker’s family.

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Later, in a bedroom, Mr Walker pushed the tip of a knife against his victim’s chest, before another person intervened and they left the room.

About 9 pm, the group went outside onto the patio for a cigarette and sat on white plastic chairs, before Mr Walker went past the others to his seated victim and stabbed him in the upper chest.

In court, Mr Walker’s defence argued he should not be found guilty of attempted murder because he did not intend to kill his victim, nor should he be found responsible for the attack due to mental illness.

His lawyer, private barrister instructed by Legal Aid Jon White SC, clarified he would also plead not guilty by reasons of mental impairment to an alternative charge of intentionally inflicting grievous bodily harm.

But prosecutor Rebecca Christensen did not agree a verdict of mental impairment should be reached. She described the weapon used in the attack as a “large kitchen knife” that “can cause the death of someone”.

She argued the issue of intent could be seen during the confrontation in the bedroom, where she alleged the victim said he could “feel the sharpness” of the knife pressed into his chest.

She alleged that on the patio, prior to the stabbing, Mr Walker had a conversation with his victim about work before using a knife to make threatening stabbing actions.

Also, Ms Christensen alleged Mr Walker had told his victim words to the effect of “you’re dead” when they were outside and when he approached his seated victim there were other areas of his body that were more accessible to attack, but he stabbed him in what was “essentially the heart”.

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Mr White argued there was “no obvious reason” why Mr Walker, who has a diagnosis of chronic paranoid schizophrenia, would have wanted to kill his victim.

He said Mr Walker had irrational conversations on the evening of 28 June and that after the stabbing he could have continued to attack his victim, but did not.

In fact he was “shocked by his own conduct” and had “called out in alarm”, later dialing Triple Zero to call for help.

Mr White said “there would have been other ways to more efficiently kill the victim” than stabbing him in the chest, such as slitting his throat.

“It’s quite clear the accused was not acting in a rational manner that evening,” he said.

Justice David Mossop is expected to deliver his verdict on Thursday afternoon.

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Capital Retro5:34 pm 24 Mar 21

People with schizophrenia aren’t usually violent. But sometimes, paranoid delusions can make them feel threatened and angry. If someone is pushed over the edge, their actions usually focus on family members, not the public, and it happens at home.

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