Man stabbed by a total stranger at a party in Brisbane

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‘Explosive’ attack saw man stabbed in the neck by total stranger at party – leaving him permanently disabled

  • Josue Natanael Espinosa-Cassanelli remained disabled after being stabbed in the neck
  • John Matthew Fitzgerald stabbed him in a Woolloongabba unit in April 2019
  • Brisbane Supreme Court heard they were strangers and attack ‘unprovoked’
  • Fitzgerald was sentenced to nearly 10 years in prison on charges of malicious act with intent

A Brisbane man who stabbed a stranger in the neck in an act of ‘explosive atrocity’, which left him permanently disabled, has been sentenced to nearly 10 years behind bars.

John Matthew Fitzgerald was found not guilty of the attempted murder of Josue Natanael Espinosa-Cassanelli in a Woolloongabba unit in April 2019, after a five-day trial in the Brisbane Supreme Court.

However, the jury found the 42-year-old guilty on the alternative charge of a malicious act of intent.

The court found that violence erupted at a party where Fitzgerald stabbed Mr Espinosa-Cassanelli in the neck.

John Matthew Fitzgerald was sentenced to nine and a half years behind bars at the Brisbane Supreme Court (pictured) for stabbing Josue Natanael Espinosa-Cassanelli in 2019

John Matthew Fitzgerald was sentenced to nine and a half years behind bars at the Brisbane Supreme Court (pictured) for stabbing Josue Natanael Espinosa-Cassanelli in 2019

An injured Mr Espinosa-Cassanelli stumbled out of the apartment before collapsing from severe blood loss.

When he was taken to Princess Alexandra Hospital for emergency surgery, he was in critical condition with a 8cm deep wound that nearly severed his left jugular vein.

He still has no memory of the attack.

Mr. Espinosa-Cassanelli’s career as a draftsman was destroyed and he now lives off the National Disability Insurance Scheme’s annual grants of just $26,000.

During the submissions, the Crown said the pair were “unknown to each other,” describing the attack as an unforeseen act of explosive horror.

The court heard Mr Espinosa-Cassanelli was taken to Princess Alexandra Hospital (pictured) in critical condition after being stabbed in the neck during the 'unprovoked' attack

The court heard Mr Espinosa-Cassanelli was taken to Princess Alexandra Hospital (pictured) in critical condition after being stabbed in the neck during the 'unprovoked' attack

The court heard Mr Espinosa-Cassanelli was taken to Princess Alexandra Hospital (pictured) in critical condition after being stabbed in the neck during the ‘unprovoked’ attack

Justice Susan Brown described the attack as an “unprovoked attack” during a Supreme Court sentencing hearing on Thursday.

“After stabbing Mr. Espinosa-Cassanelli, you left the scene and found yourself running away,” Judge Brown said.

“There’s no evidence that you regretted what you did.”

Without medical intervention, Justice Brown said Mr Espinosa-Cassanelli “would certainly have died” and that the injuries had left him crippled with no hope of rehabilitation.

Fitzgerald was sentenced to nine and a half years behind bars and will be eligible for parole after six years.

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