Timaru, Canterbury, NZ – A man who savagely attacked his former colleague with a knife and an ice pick before beating the victim with his fists has laid the blame for the violence at the feet of his victim, a community that rejected his gender identity, and the loss of his 18-year marriage.
Russell Beaumont, a 44-year-old man who identifies as a woman named Rose, entered Little Sparrow Tattoo Parlour on July 5, 2018. Armed with an ice pick and two knives, he screamed at his intended victim, “I’m going to kill you!”
He used a knife to stab his former colleague, Karl Lefeber, in the right hand while bringing the ice pick down in an attempt to stab the man in the head. Mr Lefeber raised his right arm to protect his head, and the ice pick cut to the bone of the victim’s raised arm.
Mr Beaumont struck the victim three more times with the ice pick. Mr Lefeber fell to the floor, but was able to wrest the weapon away from his attacker. Mr Beaumont then pummeled the fallen victim with his fists and spat on him.
The vicious attack ended only when police arrived at the scene.
Mr Beaumont told the court that he had fallen into a state of despair due to personal challenges in his life. As a result of a falling out with Mr Lefeber, Mr Beaumont had lost ownership of the tattoo parlor, and on January 23, 2017, he was removed from the premises for trespassing. Loss of his sole source of income and termination of his 18-year marriage had propelled him into a downward spiral, until he was staying in a sleepout. He felt that the community would have been more supportive if he did not identify as transgender.
Sentenced earlier this month following a guilty plea, Mr Beaumont is expected to serve four years and 10 months in prison on charges of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, threatening to kill and willful trespass.
Justice Rachel Dunningham stated during sentencing in the Christchurch High Court,
[G]iven the issues you have been facing, including your gender dysphoria, there is a risk that imprisonment will be more difficult for you than for other people and a lengthy prison sentence will impair your ability to be rehabilitated and to re-integrate at the conclusion of your sentence.
The judge found that the defendant’s depression over his circumstances had driven him to commit the violent crime.
The victim, Mr Lefeber, suffers from symptoms of post-traumatic stress, nerve damage and pain to the vertebrae resulting from a fracture.
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