Knife. Rob Williams

Teen attacks sleeping parents with knife on Boxing Day

A ROCKHAMPTON teenager spent two years in detention while waiting to defend attempted murder charges after psychologists were not handed all material needed to assess the teen completely.

The teenager, who cannot be named, was originally charged with attempted murder after taking a knife to her mother's throat just after midnight on Boxing Day as her mother slept.

The teen was sentenced last month in the Supreme Court in Rockhampton for counts of intent to cause grievous bodily harm, unlawful wounding and carrying out grievous bodily harm.

The attempted murder charge was later dropped and the charges changed after defence barrister Andrew Hoare took over the teen's case late last year and raised questions about her mental health status based on her demeanour in body-worn camera footage from the crime scene.

The Supreme Court was told last month that after the defendant cut her mother's throat, she moved to attack her father, who was awoken by the mother's screams, slicing her mother's leg on the way.

Crown prosecutor Joshua Phillips said the teen was no risk to the wider community and the attack was motivated by her "unhappiness with her parents".

"The injury to her mother's leg was life threatening by reason of the blood loss," he said.

Justice Graeme Crow said the teen wanted to move way from her parents temporarily.

Mr Hoare said there was no other case like this as the teen had no prior criminal history, no previous verbal or physically aggressive behaviour.

Justice Crow said the teen, who was 15 at the time, had spent Christmas Day with her parents and siblings and when everyone went to bed, the teen took two knives from the kitchen, one which she used to assault her parents.

He said she entered their bedroom between midnight and 1am, slit her mother's throat which woke her up.

"She thought it was an intruder in the house," Justice Crow said.

He said as the teen moved around the bed, she cut the mother's ankle, severing multiple tendons and her interior tibial artery.

The father and teen struggled, with the father receiving cuts to his chest and leg, only stopping after the teen said "dad" and then gave the knife to her mother.

The father called triple zero as the teen got towels for her mother, who became semi-coherent due to the loss of blood.

The father sustained a 10cm laceration to his left upper back, a 12cm laceration to his left upper chest and a 15cm laceration to the left upper leg.

The teen was arrested and held in custody for two years and eight days where she was a model detainee, but declined contact with her family while she was in detention until late 2018 when she sent a sibling a birthday present.

She has since been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder and was suffering from a major depression episode at the time of the offence.

Justice Crow said the interviews showed she was a naive young person.

During a hearing last year, Mr Hoare said the teen's intention on Boxing Day 2016 was not to kill. "She thought she would spend three weeks in custody," Mr Hoare said.

Mr Hoare also raised issues during last year's hearing about whether the support adult provided to his client during interviews with police after the offending was effective in their role along with the initial defence lawyer who allowed the interviews to go ahead, particularly for a child.

He pointed to things she said during conversations with police including: "do you know what memory sabotage is? I've been teleported" and asks "how long does it take for a memory to form?" after slashing her mother's throat.

"To treat her words as gospel ... you just can't do it," Mr Hoare said.

Justice Crow said the teen had grown up enormously in the past two years.

He ordered her to an 18-month detention sentence, which she had already served, including an additional six months while waiting for trial on the attempted murder charges that were discontinued in January.

No convictions were recorded.

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