Frenzied attack relived

Last updated 05:00 23/05/2014

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A frenzied attack in which a Timaru man was stabbed with a broken glass multiple times and told he was going to die has been relived in the Timaru District Court.

John Benson, 46, pleaded guilty to a charge of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

Yesterday a disputed facts hearing was held in front of Judge Joanna Maze as Benson disputes he started the altercation. Judge Maze ruled he had started the attack and threatened to kill.

The emotional victim gave evidence Benson punched him in the face without provocation before breaking the glass he was drinking out of and slashing him repeatedly with it. The pair were drinking in Benson's Trafalgar St flat around midnight on October 23 last year.

"The mood was fine. We were listening to AC/DC. Then he hit me in the face.

"It was enough to knock me over. I got up and asked him why he hit me and he hit me again in the face with a closed fist.

"I heard a smash and then he was on top of me and he stabbed me multiple times. Every time he stabbed me he said ‘I'm gonna kill you, I'm gonna kill you'."

The victim said he managed to escape to the kitchen and Benson dropped him again and stabbed him in the throat.

"I knew I had to get the glass out of his hand. I got it and threw it away. Then he put his knees on my chest and started strangling me with his hands."

The victim said he managed to get free and to calm Benson down, said he would not tell anyone about what had happened. Benson pushed him down to his neighbouring flat. Once inside, the victim rang the police and was taken to hospital.

In cross-examination the victim admitted that, in December, he threatened a bunch of teenagers who had upset him with a knife.

Benson gave evidence he had been head-butted by the victim, who had come round to have an argument. Benson had drunk a dozen beers while the other man was drinking wine. He said the pair would drink together most days. He claimed the victim had stabbed himself with a pen.

Judge Maze rejected Benson's evidence.

"The defence's mitigation of the offence of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm was excessive self-defence.

"I am satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant's version of events are not reliable.

"The complainant was deeply distressed giving evidence. Nothing is given in Mr Benson's evidence to explain why he [the victim] had defensive cuts to his hands."

Benson, who is in custody, will be sentenced on August 8.

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- The Timaru Herald

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