Wielding a samurai sword, a mother told her victims she would “slice them and dice them” when she terrified the couple at their home.
Rebecca Margaret Blanch, 38, was sentenced by the ACT Magistrates Court on Tuesday (28 September) for the unprovoked attack that has left her victims with lasting trauma, but Magistrate James Stewart did recognise Blanch’s own adult life had been “characterised by personal misery”.
Footage taken by the victims was screened to the court, showing Blanch yelling and swearing outside their apartment while holding the sword in her hand and asking to speak to the woman who lived there.
“I’m being nice,” she yelled at one point, just after calling the woman a “ho” and demanding she come outside.
The male victim asked if he could call mental health services.
“Please, I can book myself into the f-king mental ward if I want to,” she said.
The prosecutor, Ms Sheridan, said a samurai sword was capable of causing harm to someone and when threatening the victims Blanch said “she would slice them and dice them”.
The male victim told the courtroom that “for no logical or sane reason” the abuse had been directed at his partner.
They had both been left with anxiety, were afraid to leave the house or scared of someone breaking in to attack them, and the man had a mental breakdown and had to be hospitalised for 14 days.
The woman said they had always been good neighbours who respected other tenants, “and yet she chose to terrorise us in our home environment”.
Blanch’s lawyer, Stephanie Beckedahl from Hugo Law Group, said her client was on the disability support pension due to her epilepsy and had been using heroin during the time of the incident.
She said the behaviour seen in the footage appeared to be consistent with someone who was drug-affected.
Ms Beckedahl said Blanch was in the Alexander Maconochie Centre (AMC) where she worked in a paid position cleaning the entrance area and was “clearly trying” to work on her rehabilitation.
Ms Sheridan said while Blanch claimed she was “not a violent person”, she had been disciplined twice for incidents involving violence in the AMC.
Blanch read out a letter apologising to her victims, saying she regretted the pain she caused and that it was not her normal behaviour.
Magistrate Stewart noted Blanch had been a victim of violence herself in the past and that her second child had died at an early age.
She pleaded guilty to possessing an offensive weapon with intent as well as unconnected dishonesty-related charges.
Blanch had already spent about four months in custody for these offences. Magistrate Stewart said the offending did call for imprisonment, “but she’s done enough time”.
“What I truly hope for you is you get some help for your mental health and grief issues,” he told her.
He sentenced her to four months’ jail, which was backdated as time served, but she was unable to be released from custody that day as she had been refused bail over other unrelated charges.