Horror as coast man stabs mate 8 times in frenzied attack
A YEPPOON man who stabbed his housemate eight times with a kitchen knife for no reason, has been jailed.
Luke Thomas Stephen Garner, 21, was today sentenced in the Supreme Court at Rockhampton after pleading guilty to one count of malicious act with intent.
Garner was discharged on the more serious charge of attempted murder.
Before the court heard details of last year's March 9 stabbing incident at Lammermoor, the mother of 25-year-old victim Dominic Patrick Vidler read her impact statement to Justice Graeme Crow.
"While outwardly my life has gone on as usual since that terrible phone call at 2am on the 9th of the 3rd, 2019, inwardly and at night, it is different," Jill Herbert began.
"I feel an urgent need to know where Dom is, and what he is doing at all times.
"If I send a text and he doesn't reply that day, I feel panic rising from my stomach up.
"At night I wake and relive that phonecall, the fear that Dom wouldn't make it.
"I see his terrible wounds as he lay in that hospital bed, his utter devastation and confusion, and distress.
"Some nights I have to get up and go downstairs for one to two hours until I can control that fear, and hopefully return to sleep."
Ms Herbert went on to explain that there were friends that she could hardly talk to now, and friends she had avoided.
"I can't tell this horrible story any more, so I avoid having to see them," she said.
Ms Herbert said her son had also endured ongoing mental trauma.
"There are times when Dom has been talking one minute, and crying the next.
"Times he has cried on the phone and can't put into words what he experienced - it breaks my heart."
The court heard that Garner had expressed remorse for his offending in a letter to Justice Crow.
"He (Garner) understands, and has said previously there was no animosity whatsoever towards the complainant, and in his interview he described the complainant as someone who was a person who tried to help him," Garner's barrister said.
"He expresses this morning his remorse for the pain that he has caused the complainant, but also the complainant's family and his own family."
The court was further told that Mr Vidler "had only been good" to Garner after allowing him to move into the house he owned at Waterview Dr, Yeppoon.
Garner's brother was residing there as well as another male.
On March 8 last year, Mr Vidler was at home with Garner and the other male housemate.
Garner's brother was away for work.
That evening, the three of them went to a friend's house for drinks.
Mr Vidler and the other housemate left the host address at different times.
When Garner returned home around midnight, his two housemates were watching television in the lounge room.
Garner asked Mr Vidler if they wanted any more beers but the response came: "Probably just leave it...we aren't having any more. You've probably had enough."
Garner said he planned on having one more beer and Mr Vidler agreed that was appropriate.
Mr Vidler fell asleep in front of the TV and when he woke, the other housemate had retired to his room.
Garner was outside on the patio area, whispering on his phone.
Mr Vidler went to his room to sleep.
After falling asleep, Mr Vidler was woken by someone stabbing his right shoulder.
He ran out of the room, unable to identify who had attacked him.
Mr Vidler went to the other housemate's room and woke him.
The pair went to the dining room where Garner was present.
Mr Vidler was bleeding and he asked Garner to call an ambulance and the other housemate to get towels.
Garner was hysterical and went outside.
The other housemate gave Mr Vidler some towels and called an ambulance.
Garner then sat next to Mr Vidler and said words to the effect of: "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I didn't know they would come."
When asked what that meant, Garner referred to "the people from Ingham" and told Mr Vidler he saw two men running from the house.
Mr Vidler told Garner to clean the blood inside the house.
When police arrived about 1am, the other housemate was applying towels to Mr Vidler's wounds and Garner was sitting alongside.
Garner told police he saw two men with ski masks and knives running out of the house and added: "They're probably coming after me next."
Police saw a large amount of blood in the hallway and also the bedrooms belonging to Mr Vidler and the other housemate.
Ambulance officers treated Mr Vidler before taking him to Rockhampton Hospital.
Mr Vidler's blood was found on Garner's forearms, shirt and shoes.
Later the knife used by Garner, between 25cm and 35cm long, was found under his bed along with four other carving-style knives.
Mr Vidler arrived at hospital with eight stab wounds - to the chest, thigh, shoulder, forearm and leg, as well as a superficial laceration to the face.
Medical imaging revealed a collapsed lung and other injuries.
In the opinion of the surgeon who operated on Mr Vidler, had the injuries not been medically treated they would have been life threatening.
On the night of the incident, Garner was taken to Yeppoon police station to make statements.
There, he stuck with his original story.
But after providing a sworn police statement, he approached a constable at 5.22am and said: "I did it."
Garner was arrested.
It was after that, Garner told police that his housemates had all tried to help him, and put him on the right path, after he moved in.
Garner acknowledged that alcohol was a significant problem for him.
He told police he did not know why he had stabbed Mr Vidler.
The court was told that Garner had been drinking rum and beer on the night of the incident.
It heard that a doctor had noted that Garner did not have any mental illness but appeared to be a young man "with limited intellectual function" as evidenced by his poor academic skills and immaturity among other things.
"It's clear this is a young man with a problem with alcohol," Garner's barrister said referencing further things documented by a doctor.
Prior to the stabbing incident, Garner had no previous criminal history for offences of violence.
The charge which he pleaded guilty to carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.
Justice Graeme Crow sentenced Garner to six-and-a-half years' jail.
Garner will be eligible for parole after serving two years and two months.
Given that he has served 515 days in pre-sentence custody, Garner will be eligible for parole on May 8 next year.