The axe was his, and the intent to use it to attack her was all his.
But the fault for everything that had gone wrong, he believed, was all hers.
And even after he struck her 23 times – including 12 times to the head and face – with the axe in a beauty salon in a busy Australian shopping centre, he calmly explained to the first person who asked why he’d done what he did.
“She is my wife and she is sleeping with other men,” the Melbourne man told a cleaner as his estranged wife writhed in agony behind him, after he discarded the axe near her when part of the blade became embedded in her leg.
Later, he told police he wanted to teach her a lesson and hadn’t wanted to kill her, but instead wanted to spoil her looks, because “she thinks beauty is everything”.
“She will be sad now with those injuries,” he told officers.
He conceded what he did to her wasn’t fair, but it wasn’t fair “what she was doing” to him, and that her actions had driven him “crazy”.
CCTV footage played to the Melbourne County Court on Tuesday shows the man repeatedly strike his estranged wife in the salon where she worked in Fountain Gate Shopping Centre, in Melbourne, on March 27 last year, as she desperately tries to scramble away.
Towards the end he stands over her and strikes her as she lays defenceless.
Prosecutor Andrew Grant said the man, who cannot be named so as to protect his victim’s identity, initially distracted her by handing her a document to look at, and took the 48-centimetre axe out of a shopping bag when she looked down at the paper.
The man, an accountant, had that morning rung in sick to his workplace and gone to the shopping centre and spotted his estranged wife at her work, Grant said.
About 45 minutes later he returned, having retrieved the axe from his car, to carry out his jealousy-fuelled attack that horrified witnesses and alarmed others at how calm he appeared afterwards, while off-duty nurses assisted the woman.
The cleaner stood talking to the man to ensure he didn’t flee before police arrived.
Grant said the couple separated in 2015 and that the man had been jealous of his former partner’s new relationship.
Police later found on his computer a letter he wrote to authorities in which he complained that men in Australia had no power, and that women could do anything to “disgrace” their former partners.
The letter was signed from a “Desperate man”.
The 46-year-old retained a calm demeanour in court as his former wife and their children outlined the terrible toll of his actions.
“All I could think was this was it, this was the end of my life,” the woman, 39, said in a victim impact statement read by the prosecutor.
She watched court proceedings from a remote location via video link.
She said the attack left her needing multiple surgeries, unable to work as a beauty therapist and with limited use of her limbs. She experiences shooting headaches, her vision is impaired and she becomes easily overwhelmed and angry.
She recalled constant itchiness in hospital at being unable to scratch her wounds and a fear of seeing herself in the mirror.
“I am not happy when I look in the mirror because I can only see the scar,” she said.
In a marriage marred by violence and abuse, the woman always feared her husband would do something to her, “but I never imagined it would be this bad”.
Their son said he wanted to “beat up” his father for what he did, while their daughter feared he would escape from prison and come after his children.
Defence counsel Simon Moglia conceded his client had engaged in “victim blaming” but had accepted responsibility by pleading guilty to intentionally causing serious injury in circumstances of gross violence, and had since shown remorse.
“He agrees he deserves jail,” Moglia said. “He has nightmares about what he did and he cannot forget it. What he did was wrong and shameful.
“It was not [the woman’s] responsibility. She shouldn’t have to suffer the physical or emotional trauma he caused and he apologises to her and to the children.”
The man was “in a bad place” last year, Moglia said, and was unable to accept the end of his marriage, was drinking too much and likely had an undiagnosed depression.
Judge Patricia Riddell will sentence at a later date.
– The Age