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‘Knife fetish’: Alleged horror act on stranger

Joshua Heness, 32, faced the District Court on Monday after pleading guilty to slashing a stranger in the face with a knife. Picture: Facebook
A man with a knife fetish was high on drugs when he attacked a stranger and slashed him in the face with a knife, a court has heard. Picture: Facebook

A man with a “knife fetish” was in the midst of a methamphetamine relapse when he slashed an unknown man in the face with a kitchen knife, a court has heard.

On Monday afternoon, Joshua William Heness faced the South Australian District Court charged with aggravated assault and aggravated causing harm with intent.

The charges arise from an incident in August 2021 where someone known to Heness arrived at his property with friends in the car.

The court heard Heness had relapsed and was high on methamphetamine when he approached one man he’d never met and slashed him across the face with a stainless steel kitchen knife.

In an impact statement read to the court, Heness’ victim said his facial injuries from the incident required him to attend hospital once every 6 months to assess the nerve damage in his face.

“I have lost so much because of this assault,” he said.

“Knives destroy lives.

“He has disfigured me and I now feel like a monster.”

Joshua Heness, 32, faced the District Court on Monday after pleading guilty to slashing a stranger in the face with a knife. Picture: Facebook
Joshua Heness, 32, faced the District Court on Monday after pleading guilty to slashing a stranger in the face with a knife. Picture: Facebook

He said he struggles sleeping at night and can no longer walk alone in the dark or in crowds because of PTSD from the attack.

Prosecutor Peter Cannel told the court Heness had developed a “knife fetish” and had used knives and machetes in other offending.

“Here we have a man that has an alleged fetish with knives,” Mr Cannel said.

“The psychological report really doesn’t touch on whether this accused has any insight into his offending.

“It simply shows that he is a high-risk, violent offender.”

Heness’ defence counsel told the court his alcohol abuse and a prior arrest, combined with his relapsed drug use, had left her client in a paranoid and impulsive state on the night of the incident.

“He certainly wishes he had not been intoxicated at the time and he apologises,” she said.

“It’s conceded that there was no threat, and there is no defence of self-defence.

“He didn’t know (the victim) – there was no animosity and his actions weren’t justified.”

Joshua Heness, 32, faced the District Court on Monday after pleading guilty to slashing a stranger in the face with a knife. Picture: Facebook
He will return to court for sentencing in July. Picture: Facebook

The court heard Heness had been released on bail after his initial arrest, and arrested again on other charges and been remanded in custody, but had shown exemplary behaviour while in remand.

Judge Rauf Soulio ordered a report of Heness’ behaviour while in custody to take into consideration during sentencing.

“He’ll have to live with the consequences of his behaviour,” Judge Soulio said.

Heness will return to court in July for sentencing.