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The Texan and the tomahawk

Chilling: A rubber mask confiscated by police after an American man used a crossbow and tomahawk in an attack on a Central Coast man a week after arriving in Australia.

THE Texan arrived in Australia without warning in July 2014,with an axe to grindand twogoals in mind –to see his child, and intimidate the man he believed stood between them.

A week later the Texan, 51, was charged with attempted murder after laying in wait behind bushes at his ex-wife’s Central Coast home. He aimeda crossbow at her husband, orderedhim to his knees, hitthe Australian man on the head with a tomahawk and cameoff second best in a fist fight with him after the Australian used alaptop as a shield.

In the Texan’shire car was a rubber face mask, surveillance notes, a cooler bag with food supplies, a Central Coast map and hotel receipts.

The Texan couldn’t understand how things had gone “from bad to worse” when he’d “only used the crossbow for protection”, he told police a few hours later.

“I just told him ‘Hey stop. Just get on your knees’ and he just charged at me with the f…ing laptop,” the Texan said.

“I’m supposed to fly out on Friday. I guess there’s no chance of that happening?”.

Brisbane Water detectives said it didn’t appear likely.

The Texan, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was found guilty on Monday of wound with intent to cause grievous bodily harm after a Gosford District Court jury decided he hadn’t intended to murder his ex-wife’s husband shortly after noon on July 15, 2014.

He had taken the crossbow, arrows anda knife to the Central Coast house for protection, he said. The garotte he had around his neck was just a necklace.

Asked whether it was his usual practice to arrive at someone’s house in another country unannounced, carrying a crossbow, picking up a tomahawk on the way and ordering someone to his knees, the Texan told police: “I told you I wanted it for protection and look what happened. We ended up in a fight.”

The court heard the Texan and his wife divorced in August2009 when their childwas about four. The ex wife and a Central Coast man began an online relationship on a dating website, spent a week together in Texas in September 2009, and married in April 2010.

Two days after moving to Australia with her new husband the Texan’s ex wife sent him a text message to sayshe was married and “letting him know we had brought (the child) to Australia”.

Court action in America established custody arrangements. The Texan was able to Skype his childon Saturday and Sunday, travelled to Australia three times to see the child, and the ex wife and their childtravelled to America at least once fora visit.

The court heard the Texan became agitated when his ex-wife’s Australian husband objected to the Texan talking to the childabout custody matters which were “adult stuff”.

He flew to Australia in July 2014 unannounced. He told police he carried acrossbow and knife in his luggage and a wire garotte, used to strangle or hang a person, in his shaving kit. He said he didn’t know the itemswere illegal, didn’t declare them and wasn’t stopped at Customs.

Asked by police why he brought a “very dangerous weapon” such as a garotte to Australia, where it was “just sitting around your neck”,the Texan said it was a cultural thing.

“To me it’s a tool or necklace, but to you it’s a weapon,” he said.

He said he wanted to spend time with his childbut “it just turned out horrible”. Taking the crossbow was protection and “it was an intimidation thing”.

The Texan denied firing a bolt from the crossbow, but told police “I think I ended up throwing the freaking thing at him”. The court heard the Australian man’s laptop carried an indentation consistent with a bolt striking it, but the jury found the Texan not guilty of firing the crossbow with intent to murder the Australian.

The Australian man recalled looking sideways towards bushes while carrying a laptop down steps from his house on the day of the attack and “I’m basically looking straight down the sights” of a crossbow.

“The weapon was aimed continuously at me and I put the laptop up as a defence,” he said.

The two men were in “struggle mode” within seconds after the Australian was hit on the head by his own tomahawk, bought at Bunnings for a few dollarsand picked up by the Texan as he walked through the property.

“I remember seeing my blood just pouring out and going over his face and jacket and clothes,” the Australian man said.

The fight ended withthe Texan in a ditch afterhis ex wife, aneighbour and a tradesman responded to the Australian’syells.

The Australian told police he yelled at the Texan: “You’re a f…ing idiot. You’re going to jail.”

The Texan was refused bail and will be sentenced in May.

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