ACT News

Man kneed pregnant fiance, threatened to kill her

A Narrabundah man who tried to kill his unborn child by kneeing his fiance in the stomach told the woman that he hoped the baby died, a court has heard.

Michael John Watson, 41, then returned less than a fortnight later and choked the woman so severely that she involuntarily defecated. But Watson claims he cannot remember either of the attacks.

Watson has pleaded guilty in the ACT Supreme Court to attempting to inflict grievous bodily harm, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, and choking a person insensible. An agreed statement of facts, tendered in court, said the victim had been asleep at Watson's Gowrie Court home on the afternoon of December 28 last year.

She was awoken by Watson holding a knife over her knuckles and telling her he would cut off her fingers and kill her. She fled to a neighbour's unit where Watson abused her, held her against the wall by her throat, and then kneed her in the stomach. The flat's owner intervened and Watson punched him in the head about six times and choked him. The men were wrestling when police arrived.

Watson told arresting officers that he would kill the pair and then yelled at the victim: "I hope the baby dies, you s---."

The woman was taken to hospital where doctors discovered the baby had died a few days prior to the incident.

Court documents said Watson made a number of admissions to police and was granted bail two days later on the condition that he not approach the woman or his neighbour. But about 2.30am on January 8 he went back to Gowrie Court and accused the woman of killing their child. Watson then straddled the woman's chest and choked her, saying "I'm going to kill you b----." Watson then trod on her throat until she could not breathe; she made gurgling noises, and defecated. Court documents said the victim thought she would die.

The attack was stopped when the neighbour put Watson in a headlock. The pair wrestled and the offender fled.

Defence lawyer James Sabharwal said his client's alcohol abuse meant he had no recollection of the attacks, but accepted responsibility for his actions. Mr Sabharwal said Watson had completed a number of courses and undergone counselling while in custody. The defence lawyer accepted that a jail term was the only appropriate sentence.

Prosecutor Anthony Williamson said the intensity and viciousness of the assaults placed it in the mid-to-upper range of objective seriousness. "The nature of the attack was extreme," Mr Williamson said. "It was a brutal display of power over his victim … [which had] no other purpose than to instil fear and terror."

Acting Justice Stephen Walmsley will hand down sentence later this week.