‘Happy days’: Victim reacts to axe attack verdict
EVIE Amati, the transgender woman who attacked overnight customers in a suburban 7-Eleven with an axe has been found guilty of wounding with intent to murder in a unanimous verdict by a jury.
Amati, now aged 26, was found guilty of three charges after a five week trial in the NSW District Court.
She had pleaded not guilty saying she was suffering mental illness while committing the attacks.
But a jury did not believe her and found her guilty on two charges of wounding with intent to murder and wounding with intent to murder against two store customers and attempting to wound a pedestrian with intent to murder him.
After the verdict was read out, Amati threw herself over the dock and sobbed. She will be sentenced in September.
Amati, her long hair drawn back into a bun, looked downcast as she sat in the dock after the jury read out its unanimous verdict.
After the jury left the courtroom she put her head in a tissue and wept silently.
She wore plain prison greens, in contrast to the patterned tops and jacket during the trial.
Her mother sat impassively in the court as the verdicts were pronounced.
The attacks by Amati, two of which were caught on a violent CCTV footage, took place after 2am in the inner west Sydney suburb of Enmore, on January 7 last year.
One of Amati's victims, Sharon Hacker told news.com au she was "happy" about the guilty verdict.
"Happy dance," Ms Hacker said, "I can't help but feel happy. It gives us all closure."
Ms Hacker has continuing nerve pain and psychosocial problems following the attack and that she had tried to protect her daughter from coverage of the incident.
"But she's 21 and with [the CCTV video of the attack on Ms Hacker] it's all over the place."
Ms Hacker said she had lost 25kg since the attack and had problems with her neck.
The trial, before Judge Mark Williams, heard evidence from three alleged victims, Ben Rimmer, Sharon Hacker and Shane Redwood.
Police, ambulance officers and doctors have also given testimony to the trial.
Ms Amati's barrister Charles Waterstreet told the trial on its first day that Ms Amati was on a cocktail of drugs and had "lost her mind".
He said, "The CCTV captures the body of Ms Amati, there is no doubt. The question you have to decide is where was her mind?"
Amati took the stand during the trial and gave evidence that she was high on drugs on the night of the attack and heard a voice telling her to "kill and maim" and "start the rise of hell on earth".
Amati said she started hearing "inaudible whispers" as she walked home, smoked two joints on the balcony to "anaesthetise" herself, rocked back-and-forth and listened to her favourite song - Flatline by US metal band Periphery.
"I just wanted someone to come and stroke my head and tell me that everything would be OK," Amati said.
"I only really had one more memory … that voice that had been telling me to kill and maim, and inflict pain on people and start the rise of hell on earth.
"I recall everything going quiet and feeling that voice come inside and I remember that smile, the smile that was not mine, a sinister smile that plastered my face that I couldn't control and then I black(ed) out."
But Crown prosector Daniel McMahon told the trial that Amati had lashed out with an axe after becoming angry because of a romantic rejection because she was transgender on the night of the incident.
Amati attacked Ben Rimmer, who was buying a pie after a night out with friends, then Sharon Hacker, who was buying a carton of milk.
Mr McMahon played the CCTV footage of the two store attacks and pointed out Amati appeared to have waited until Mr Rimmer was distracted before striking him in the face with the axe.
He also noted Ms Hacker was also attacked when she was not looking, and told Amati she had been feigning unconsciousness when found after the attack in a nearby courtyard.
Mr McMahon noted the axe was located standing up against the wall, near where she had apparently collapsed to the ground.
Amati denied she was angry, saying she had "experienced rejection countless times before".
She said that from late 2016, she'd had violent hallucinations involving an axe she had just bought and saw visions of herself running at police with it and being shot dead.