Backpacker jailed for brutal attack on woman

A backpacker who sparked a three-hour police siege after violently attacking his female housemate has been jailed.
A backpacker who sparked a three-hour police siege after violently attacking his female housemate has been jailed. Mike Knott

A TAIWANESE backpacker who sparked a three-hour police siege after violently attacking his female housemate has been jailed.

Jen-Chieh Lai, 28, was living in a share house with a number of other backpackers in June this year when he became involved in a disagreement with a Taiwanese woman, also 28, who lived in the house.

"It was a misunderstanding that she believed he was trying to have a relationship with her when this was not the case," barrister Craig Ryan told the court.

"He became aware she was saying this to other people and he went to her room to tell her that it was not true and he was not trying to be anything more than a friend."

The conversation took a horrific turn however when Lai smashed the ceramic bowl he was holding over the woman's head, leaving a 10cm gash that needed 18 staples to close.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Stevens said after smashing the bowl over the woman's head, Lai punched her repeatedly.

"There was a large amount of blood and hair had been ripped from her head," Sgt Stevens said.

Lai claimed he punched the woman just the once but Magistrate Deb Vasta did not accept that.

"You had grabbed a knife and were trying to continue to get to her but another person held you back and she managed to escape," Mrs Vasta said.

"For the next three hours you held police at bay while armed with the knife."

Mr Ryan said the siege, which Lai has not been charged over, was also a misunderstanding with his limited knowledge of the English language hampering police efforts to talk to him.

"At the time the police arrived he was inside his own residence and he had a knife that he was contemplating killing himself with," Mr Ryan said.

"He was very ashamed of his behaviour and the police were armed with weapons drawn and yelling and he believed they were going to shoot him."

Mrs Vasta condemned Lai's actions.

"This was a horrific and brutal attack on someone who you called a friend for no reason other than you became furious," she said.

"This was an incredible loss of self control which even you can not explain."

Lai was sentenced to a six month jail term that will be suspended for two years once he has served two months behind bars. He was also ordered to pay the victim $2422 compensation.

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