A Sydney real estate agent who slashed a woman with a samurai sword and assaulted a second woman while high on a cocktail of drugs and alcohol has avoided jail.
Karl Howard, 46, the former principal of Ray White in Balmain, pleaded guilty to assault causing actual bodily harm and reckless grievous bodily harm over the attack in his Annandale home in February 2021.
Late last year, following a judge-alone trial, Howard was found not guilty of other charges: two counts of grievous bodily harm with intent to murder, and causing grievous bodily harm with intent.
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On Friday, Judge Antony Townsden sentenced him in the NSW District Court in Parramatta to a two-year-and-three-month intensive corrections order.
Howard was also ordered to complete 200 hours of community service, abstain from alcohol and prohibited drugs and continue psychiatric counselling.
The court heard that, in February 2021, Howard and the two women, then aged 27 and 29, were drinking and consuming cocaine before he began acting “strangely”.
The Annandale home where the attack occurred. Credit: 7NEWS
The women cannot be identified for legal reasons.
“He was noticeably hyperactive and began behaving like a boy,” Judge Townsden said.
He began running around the house before his behaviour changed and became aggressive and manic.
Howard told one of the women he had taken four Valium and Viagra pills.
“Don’t call. I’m just joking,” he told her after she attempted to call an ambulance.
“I just want to keep partying. I’m a drug addict. I can’t stop.”
Howard then elbowed one of the women in the head before putting his hands around the second woman’s throat and forcibly kissing her.
“I need to kill you. You need to die. I love you but this needs to happen,” he told the first woman.
He then went upstairs and retrieved a 1.5m-long samurai sword and struck the second woman on her arm, leaving a deep laceration.
Karl Howard was a successful real estate agent. Credit: 7NEWS
The first woman, who thought he had killed the second woman, ran to neighbours for help.
The second woman suffered significant injuries to her arm and spent four days in hospital following the attack.
During his judgement last year, Judge Townsden referred to the police account of a “delirious” Howard hiding under the covers in the back of a ute acting in a “psychotic” manner.
The officers said he was making “nonsensical sounds through gritted teeth” and yelling “I’m going to kill you” twice.
Judge Townsden cited the reports of two medical experts at the time who described the offender as being in a “toxic delirium” and “transient paranoia”.
“His judgement would have been significantly disturbed, and he would have not been thinking clearly,” he said.
Karl Howard arrives at Parramatta courthouse on Friday. Credit: AAP
Judge Townsden said he was satisfied Howard had shown remorse and had insight into his behaviours.
He had reasonable prospects of rehabilitation and was unlikely to reoffend but that was dependent on his abstinence from drugs, the judge said.
Judge Townsden said the use of the sword was an aggravating factor in sentencing, however the attack was not planned or premeditated.
The court heard Howard had made a reparation payment of $225,000 to one of the victims.
Howard spent almost a year in custody on remand following his arrest, before he was granted bail in January 2022.
His intensive corrections order will expire in February 2026.
– with AAP
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