A Victorian man who claims he cannot remember stabbing a complete stranger three times in the back with a pocket knife near a playground has been jailed.
Dimitri Evangelou followed a 22-year-old woman, grabbed her and stabbed her in the back on a walking track at Gowanbrae, in Melbourne's northwest, in September 2020.
The 19-year-old man on Wednesday faced the Victorian County Court, where he was sentenced to three years in a youth justice centre after pleading guilty to one count of recklessly causing serious injury.
Judge Douglas Trapnell described the attack, which left the woman suffering from nightmares and panic attacks, as "motiveless", "bizarre" and "unexplained".
"You violently attacked a lone, defenceless woman, who was unknown to you, with a knife, in broad daylight, in a public place, for no apparent reason," Judge Trapnell said.
"This was a very traumatic experience for her. It is clear your offending had a very big physical and emotional impact upon her."
The woman was taken to hospital and now has scars on her back as well as numbness in a finger which was injured and required surgery after she tried to fend off Evangelou.
She struggled to sleep, shower, get dressed or cook for weeks after the stabbing, the court was told.
The woman also suffered from depression and irritability and while she couldn't walk by herself, she also became more socially isolated.
"Any man in a mask automatically triggered panic in me which affected my ability to associate with others in public," the 22-year-old said in a statement.
"Although this incident greatly affected me and those around me, I do not feel hopeless about the future in any way. I was determined from the beginning to not let it change the way I saw the world or approached life."
Evangelou left his phone behind after fleeing the scene and later asked a police officer in a shopping centre to call it as he thought had lost it in the complex.
The 19-year-old's fingerprints were found on the phone and he was arrested on the day of the attack.
He told police he had helped his mother buy groceries before playing piano and video games at home at the time the woman was stabbed, but later pleaded guilty.
Defence barrister Jessica Williard earlier said the attack was impulsive and reckless, but not premeditated.
The 19-year-old has no memory of the incident, she said, and has had long-term problems with concentration, poor energy and motivation.
He struggled at high school and also tried to kill the family cat with a knife when he was a child.
Ms Willard said her client had been suffering from auditory hallucinations while in custody and an expert reported he showed signs of incipient psychotic illness.
Judge Trapnell said Evangelou had reasonable prospects of rehabilitation, given his youth, ongoing family support and lack of criminal history.
He has already served 450 days in pre-sentence detention.
Australian Associated Press