Briefing Room

Machete attacker given 10 year jail term

A Somali refugee has been sentenced to 10 years behind bars for a “vicious and cowardly” machete attack in which he tried to kill his former partner.

Earlier this year, a Brisbane Supreme Court jury found Muhumed Samow Ali guilty of trying to kill the woman when he rammed her car, chased her down a suburban Brisbane street and struck her several times with the weapon in September 2015.

Justice Roslyn Atkinson on Tuesday sentenced the 53-year-old to a head term of 10 years imprisonment, describing the crime as a public attack on a defenceless woman who wanted to end their relationship.

A victim impact statement written by the woman and read aloud in court said she “went numb” when she saw Samow Ali behind the wheel of a car in her street in Wacol on the morning of September 10, 2015.

She said she cried out in fear and tried to run away but couldn’t escape the repeated blows dealt by her attacker.

“I noticed my head had began to bleed and then more blood was all over my body,” she recalled.

“I really thought that there was no hope of surviving this.”

The victim, who sustained significant but not life-threatening injuries, went on to describe an inability to trust men and the loss of her previous confident character in the aftermath of the attack.

The court heard she met Samow Ali in Townsville in 2011, with the prosecution describing their relationship as “complicated”.

Justice Atkinson noted the father of seven had endured extreme violence, war and poverty in Africa – including roughly 15 years in an Ethiopian refugee camp – but said his victim was entitled to end their relationship without fear of “violent retribution”.

She found he held an intent to kill “at all times” during the attack, from when he drove into the street and collided with his victim’s car, to the point where he dealt his final blow.

Earlier, defence barrister Ben Power said his client’s time in custody so far had included social isolation because of his minimal English skills and regular taunts as he, a Muslim, performed his required prayers.

Justice Atkinson took a lack of English courses in custody into account and declared more than 700 days already spent in custody as time already served, adding Ali would be required to serve 80 per cent of his term before being released on parole.

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