A WITNESS in the axe attack trial of transgender woman Evie Amati has given dramatic evidence of how she came out of a 7-Eleven with an axe dripping with blood.
Nathan Wood told the court that he was walking home after 2am on January 7 last year when he saw “a fight inside ... some goods inside the shop getting knocked over”.
“I saw a person inside raise an object from overhead and down hard with it,” Mr Wood said.
“That’s when I saw a body on the floor and blood spatter.
“I saw a second body collapse to the floor.
“And I saw Ms Amati exit the building with a dripping axe.
“She has locked eyes with me and was crossing straight towards me.
“She started to raise her axe. I realised she was intending to do harm so I made a mad dash to the end of the block.”
Mr Wood said he then saw a homeless man he later found out was Shane Redwood.
“Shane was right behind me,” Mr Wood told the court.
“I watched [the accused] take a swing with the axe at Shane.”
Mr Redwood gave evidence of the incident via video from the UK.
Mr Redwood, who said he was disabled with a heart condition which made it impossible for him to run, said he left Enmore’s Golden Barley Hotel around 2am on January 7, 2017.
He was walking opposite Enmore 7-Eleven when he heard a noise.
“I saw a lady being hit by another lady with what I then thought was a baseball bat,” Mr Redwood said via videolink.
“That lady fell backwards.
“I thought it was a fight so I thought ‘I’ll go over’.
“I noticed the lady ... walking across the road in my direction.
“I noticed it wasn’t a bat, it was an axe.
“I knew at that point she was going to try to hit me with the axe.”
Mr Redwood said he removed his backpack and held it in his right hand.
“As the lady approached me she took the axe and swung at me.
“I swung my backpack to try and stop getting hit with the axe.
“I managed to hit the blade of the axe with my bag, then she tried swinging again.
“I blocked it again with my bag but it was hit so hard my bag fell out of my hands.
“I tried to run across the road. I am disabled ... I fell flat on my face.
“I turned around expecting an axe blow on my head.”.
Mr Redwood told Crown Prosecutor Daniel McMahon that if the first blow, which had “a lot” of force, had hit him it would have been in the region of his “upper chest”.
Ambulance officer Chloe Ashurst told the court she had arrived at the Enmore 7-Eleven at 2.39am on January 7 last year to find Ben Rimmer lying near the door.
“There was an obvious amount of blood approximately 500ml on the floor ... covering his face and chest,” she said.
The trial of Ms Amati, now aged 26, on six charges including two of causing wounding or grievous bodily harm with intent to murder and one of attempting to do so, is in its second day in Sydney’s Downing Centre Court.
Crown prosecutor Daniel McMahon has told the jury that there was no dispute that Ms Amati had wounded or caused grievous bodily harm to two 7-Eleven customers in Sydney’s inner west in the early hours of a Saturday morning last year.
The jury of eight men and four women heard that Ms Amati walked into the convenience store armed with a 2kg axe with a 50cm long handle and 11cm long blade and an 18cm long knife in her back pocket.
It was 2.19am on January 7, 2017 and Ms Amati had walked 450m on foot from her Enmore home where she had been listening to a song “with dark themes”.
Mr McMahon told the court that less than an hour before, Ms Amati had changed her Facebook status to read, “humans are only able to destroy or hate so that is what I shall do”.
It was also claimed that at 1.13am that morning Ms Amati sent a Facebook message to a woman she thought had rejected her saying “one day I am going to kill a lot of people”.
She allegedly also wrote a Facebook message saying “some people deserve to die. I hate people” and “I know where you live haha”.
But Ms Amati’s defence barrister Charles Waterstreet told the jury that although they would see video footage of Ms Amati, that at the time she was “out of her mind”.
“There is no doubt that the body of Evie Amati is in the CCTV … but by the time she picked up the axe, where was her mind?”
Both the Crown prosector and Mr Waterstreet said that Ms Amati had been out drinking and taking drugs with three other women but had left her companions and gone home before entering the 7-Eleven.
Inside the store were two customers, Ben Rimmer who was buying a pie, and Sharon Hacker who was buying milk.
“[Ms Amati] did a lap of the store, passing Ben Rimmer before approaching the vicinity of the checkout,” Mr McMahon told the jury in his opening address on Monday.
“Mr Rimmer and the accused exchanged a few words during which he briefly touched the axe she is holding in front of her body, waist height with two hands.
“The accused brings the axe around her right shoulder and swings from left to right at Ben Rimmer’s head.”
Mr McMahon said the axe blow broke Mr Rimmer’s eye socket, cheek bone and caused a 10cm wound from the bridge of his nose to the left eyelid, and “the force knocks him to the ground”.
He said Ms Amati then turned her attention to Sharon Hacker who was apparently unaware of the attack on Mr Rimmer and was leaving the shop.
Ms Amati then brings the axe around and “swings with both hands a forceful blow to the back of the head at the base of the skull”, Mr McMahon said.
Ms Hacker fell forward heavily to the ground and “the accused attempts to bring the axe down forcefully on Ms Hacker on the ground”.
Ben Rimmer told Ms Amati’s trial that he had been drinking beer with friends at a nearby hotel until 2am on January 7 last year when he decided to get a pie.
He went to the convenience store at Enmore and was waiting in line to pay for his pie when a woman carrying an axe in both her hands, which he thought “was a prop, something left over from a fancy dress party”.
Mr Rimmer said the woman came up to him and “stood very close to me”.
“I just remember having an ill feeling, something wasn’t quite right … I felt threatened,” he told the court.
“I turned away and then I was struck, I was hit across the face, over my nose. It was like being king hit. Then I stood up, the blood, I was bleeding profusely.
“I started to panic. I thought I was going to bleed out. I took my shirt off and tied it round my head to stem the flow.”
Ms Hacker told the court how she had gone to the a store to buy milk and had paid for it and was putting change into her wallet when she heard a sound like a “whoomp”.
She was then aware of a feeling in her head, “I saw a woman in her 20s … carrying an axe with a wooden handle.
“That’s when I realised, oh, OK, I’ve just been struck in the head with an axe.”
Lying half in and half out of the shop’s door, Ms Hacker said she watched the woman swing the axe at the man in the street.
Ms Amati’s barrister Charles Waterstreet described his client’s actions as “horrible” but said she did not intend them and was mentally ill at the time.
Mr Waterstreet said Ms Amati’s purchase of the axe she used to attack three people was “completely and utterly innocent” and for the purpose of breaking up an old couch.
But on January 7 last year she had “lost her mind” with “demons … possessing her”.
Describing Ms Amati as “a woman of very good character … of considerable intelligence not an axe murderer”, Mr Waterstreet said Ms Amati had severe depression and had been suicidal.
He said she had “excruciating” physical and psychiatric pain from a gender reassignment operation she’d travelled to Thailand with her family to have, and had “resorted to taking cannabis”.
He said before her gender reassignment, Ms Amity had been known as Karl Amati, had worked as a unionist for seven years, and was “brilliant” intellectually.
But after becoming a woman, she had increased her cannabis use and took both antidepressants and female hormones.
However, he said Ms Amati was “dead set against any amphetamines” and had “unwittingly” taken some on the night of the attack which adversely affected her.
On the night, three types of “feminising hormones”, cannabis, MDA and alcohol was “a toxic mixture on a fragile mind” which had resulted in “a gory, gory scene”.
Mr Waterstreet said he would call psychiatrists who would testify Ms Amati had been in “a toxic delirium” and a “drug-induced psychosis”.