‘Need to be punished’: Stab accused’s threat to tourist
A YOUNG Chilean woman had been in Cairns for less than two days when she was violently beaten and stabbed by a man after rejecting his advances in the kitchen of her backpackers hostel.
Filmmaker Constanza "Ku-ki" Escudero, 27, was lucky to survive the knife wound to her chest, with police saying at the time in August last year that she was just millimetres from possible death.
The trial began on Monday in the Cairns Supreme Court for Northern Territory man Raynard Gregory Moodoonuthi, who pleaded not guilty to attempted murder, but guilty to the alternative charge of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, along with assault occasioning bodily harm.
The court heard Mr Moodoonuthi was a "jack of all trades" working at Gecko's Backpackers on Bunda Street in the Cairns CBD where Ms Escudero and her best friend Marisol Fernandez, 27, were staying. The pair had flown into Melbourne in late July before travelling to Cairns, where they planned to find work.
Crown prosecutor Nathan Crane told the court Mr Moodoonuthi had shown the women to their room when they checked in on August 3.
The following evening, Ms Escudero alleged she caught him watching her through a window into their dorm room, before he allegedly made an unwanted advance to her the following morning.
Ms Escudero struck him with a tea cup she had been holding in response and he allegedly said "do you want to fight?" before attacking her with a "flurry of punches".
"What she will tell you is that she received a punch so hard to the face that she knew her nose was broken," Mr Crane said.
He said the women fled out the front of the hostel as he pulled a 30cm knife from a kitchen drawer and allegedly said "you need to be punished".
Ms Fernandez attempted to stop his pursuit of Ms Escudero by holding up her hand, but he "only had eyes for Constanza", allegedly grabbing her by the shirt and stabbing her in the neck, fracturing her spine.
The court was told Gecko's manager Peter Hoare coaxed Mr Moodoonuthi from the scene and took possession of the knife. Mr Moodoonuthi fled on foot but was arrested in Westcourt after a short chase.
The trial continues.
Originally published as 'Need to be punished': Stab accused's threat to Chilean tourist