Years in jail likely after Bendigo stabbing

Police at the scene of the stabbing in California Gully, in September last year. Picture: GLENN DANIELS

Police at the scene of the stabbing in California Gully, in September last year. Picture: GLENN DANIELS

A BENDIGO man who stabbed a woman to the face and back an estimated 10 times in her California Gully home is facing years in jail, a court has been told.

A Crown prosecutor described the attack on September 11 last year as “vicious, sustained and cowardly”, and left the woman with enduring physical and emotional injuries.

Brent Gilbert, 35, pleaded guilty in the Bendigo County Court on Thursday to intentionally causing serious injury.

The court heard Gilbert visited the victim’s house on September 10 while she was home with her boyfriend and children, with the intention of buying cannabis.

When they were unable to find cannabis, Gilbert became agitated and started pacing.

He attacked the woman with two knives, stabbing her to the face and back in the kitchen and near the front door. Neither Gilbert or the victim recalled the events leading up to the incident.

One of the victim’s children witnessed the attack and provided a re-enactment for police.

Blood was found smeared on walls throughout the house, and there was a pool of blood in the kitchen.

The victim made it to her neighbour’s house where an ambulance was called. Gilbert fled the scene and returned home to his wife.

Police collect evidence after the stabbing, which left blood smeared on the walls and a pool of blood in the kitchen. Picture: GLENN DANIELS

Police collect evidence after the stabbing, which left blood smeared on the walls and a pool of blood in the kitchen. Picture: GLENN DANIELS

The court heard Gilbert told his wife: “I need to speak to you, I think I just killed someone”.

The victim suffered six injuries to her face, four of which required stitches. There were a further four wounds to her back causing damage to tissue.

An artery in her left arm was severed, there was a wound on her right arm and a trauma injury to her neck.

Some of the injuries required surgery.

Defence counsel Russell Kelly said Gilbert has autism spectrum disorder and was on medication to control his anxiety, but had become unhappy with his plan and was seeking to self-medicate with cannabis.

Mr Kelly said a jail term was entirely appropriate.

“A substantial term of imprisonment is warranted,” he said. 

“He was feeling anxious fearful – to call it an overreaction is an understatement.”

In a police interview, Gilbert said he wished he had “hit her in the head” instead.

Crown prosecutor David Cordy said the attack was “as bad as it gets”.

“Whatever triggered this event - and it’s a mystery to the Crown - this was a vicious, sustained, cowardly attack on a woman in front of her child,” he said.

“This is an alarming case, and Your Honour should have particular regard for the protection of the community… just punishment and denunciation.

“It’s as bad as it gets, from the prosecution’s perspective.”

Judge Irene Lawson said jail was the only option.

“It’s still a mystery what motivated this savage attack on this young woman,” she said.

Gilbert will be sentenced at a later date.

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