Man stabbed with screwdriver

BENJAMIN Joseph Fitzhenry was “zonked out of his mind” on a cocktail of Valium, other prescription drugs and alcohol when he stabbed a Maryborough man in the neck with a screwdriver.

The 68-year-old victim was lucky to escape with a minor injury after the unprovoked attack in the early hours of August 23.

Fitzhenry has been in jail since being caught on August 24 but will be out of the cells in time to spend Christmas with his family.

The 27-year-old appeared in the Maryborough District Court last week where he pleaded guilty to unlawful wounding, burglary and break and enter.

He was given concurrent 18-month prison terms for each offence, with a parole release date of December 23.

The court heard the victim was in his front yard to farewell some visitors when Fitzhenry asked him for a lighter.

When the older man refused, Fitzhenry threatened to burn the house down.

He then stabbed the victim in the neck with a screwdriver, causing a minor puncture.

Defence barrister Jim Fairlie said Fitzhenry had been a heroin addict since he was 15 years old but had completed a methadone program in an effort to rehabilitate himself.

On the night of the offence Fitzhenry had been off the methadone for three days – he was prescribed diazepam, sold as Valium, and was due to start a rehabilitation program at Bundaberg the next week.

“He suffered withdrawals and took the Valium – the whole lot of it – took other medications and got on the booze,” Mr Fairlie said.

Fitzhenry broke into a Maryborough garage and car and stole a nail gun, screwdriver, GPS, digital camera and money before attacking the 68-year-old with the stolen screwdriver.

“He walked home totally zonked, hardly knowing what he was doing,” Mr Fairlie said.

Mr Fairlie said Fitzhenry had dried out since being in prison and was now free of drugs and ready to make a better life for himself.

Judge Julie Ryrie said the drugs explained but did not excuse Fitzhenry’s behaviour.

“You are fortunate the injuries to this innocent bystander were so minor, but you’ve scared the living daylights out of him,” she said.

“Heroin addicts will always be addicts.

“You might be clean now but if you go anywhere near them you will fall off the wagon as quick as any other addict.”



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