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Russell Beaumont, a transgender woman who now goes by the name Rose Beaumont, was sentenced in the High Court at Timaru last week for attacking a former colleague at the Little Sparrow Tattoo Parlour.
Beaumont had lost ownership of the tattoo parlour and blamed the victim, Karl Lefeber, among others.
This, along with the end of an 18-year marriage and the fact that Beaumont's identifying as a woman was "not always" well received in the community, had caused Beaumont to hit a low point in her life.
"You were suffering from depression, living in a sleepout, not sleeping well and you had no stable income," Justice Dunningham said.
On July 5 Beaumont entered the tattoo parlour carrying two large knives and an ice axe.
Lashing out with a knife, Beaumont caught Lefeber's right hand.
Lefeber then raised his right arm to protect his head and the ice axe struck his forearm with "sufficient force to cut through the skin to the bone".
The victim was struck at least three more times with the ice axe, knocking him to the ground.
Eventually the victim was able to grab the ice axe with his left hand, but Beaumont continued to punch him and yell abuse at him.
The attack only stopped when the police arrived and removed the weapons and restrained Beaumont.
Beaumont's lawyer described the level of premeditation as "short term" and "desperate".
Lefeber has ongoing pain from the fracture in his vertebrae and from a damaged nerve in his right elbow.
"He now feels unsafe and is suspicious of people, and he replays the attack, over and over in his head," Justice Dunningham said.
Beaumont was sentenced to four years and 10 months jail on charges of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.
On the charge of threatening to kill, Beaumont was sentenced to six months imprisonment and on the charge of wilful trespass two months imprisonment.
All sentences will be served concurrently.