Man jailed over ‘heinous’ Woolloongabba stabbing

A Brisbane man who stabbed a stranger in the neck in an act of “explosive heinousness”, leaving him permanently disabled, has been sentenced to almost 10 years behind bars.

Jun 03, 2021, updated Jun 03, 2021

John Matthew Fitzgerald was found not guilty of the attempted murder of Josue Natanael Espinosa-Cassanelli at a Woolloongabba unit in April 2019, after a five-day trial in the Brisbane Supreme Court.

However, the jury found the 42-year-old guilty of the alternative charge of a malicious act with intent.

The court found the violence erupted at a party with Fitzgerald stabbing Espinosa-Cassanelli in the neck.

A wounded Espinosa-Cassanelli stumbled from the apartment before he collapsed from severe blood loss.

When taken to the Princess Alexandra Hospital for emergency surgery, he was in critical condition with a deep 8cm wound that almost severed his left jugular vein.

He still has no memory of the attack.

Espinosa-Cassanelli ‘s career as a draftsman was destroyed, and he now survives on National Disability Insurance Scheme annual subsidies of just $26,000.

During submissions, the Crown said the pair were “not known to each other”, describing the attack as an unpremeditated act of explosive heinousness.

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Justice Susan Brown described the attack as an “unprovoked assault” during a sentencing hearing in the Supreme Court on Thursday. ”

“After stabbing Mr Espinosa-Cassanelli, you left the scene and were seen to be walking away,” Justice Brown said.

“There is no evidence you had any remorse for what you had done.”

Without medical intervention, Justice Brown said Espinosa-Cassanelli “most certainly would have died” and the injuries had left him disabled with no hope of rehabilitation.

Fitzgerald was sentenced to nine-and-a-half years behind bars and will be eligible for parole after six years.

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