In the early hours of January 7, 2017, Ben Rimmer–a muscular, tattooed 33-year-old–entered a 7 Eleven store in the Sydney suburb of Elmore to purchase a meat pie. He would not make it home that night. Slinking through the automatic sliding doors moments behind him a person looking like an apparition from a Hollywood horror film walked in, dead-eyed, carrying an axe.
The figure had a ghostly white face smeared in dark eye make-up and ratty, bleached-out hair. She wore tight black shorts, black sneakers, a black tank-top, and arms covered in black ink. Surveillance footage from the night shows she wandered through the aisles of the store before approaching Rimmer and having a conversation as he waited in line to purchase his pie. Ahead of him, a woman with long dreadlocks named Sharon Hacker purchased a carton of milk.
Within moments, the demonic-looking blond raised the axe and sent it hurling down on Rimmer’s face, the blade gashing into his forehead, nose, and eye socket. The maniac then struck Hacker in the back as she attempted to flee the store. The axe-wielder then calmly stepped over the two writhing bodies and left the 7 Eleven. Law enforcement says the suspect, unionist Evie Amati, then took the campaign of terror onto the streets, swinging at another man after leaving the store, before being apprehended.
The bizarre trial has now begun for Amati, 26, but the Australian media is refusing to publish one detail about the suspect: Amati is a transgender. Hours before the attack, prosecutors say Amati sent threatening messages to a woman on the dating app Tinder. Amati and the woman, Mickila Jahnsen, 25 at the time, met up and prepared to go out for a night of clubbing. After consuming alcohol and the drug MDMA together, Amati sunk into a “depressive” state and left. According to court documents, Amati sent messages to Jahnsen saying she thought Jahnsen believed her to be “ugly” and that Amati could tell Jahnsen wasn’t “attracted” to her. Amati then called her a “sociopath” and said “people like you is what’s wrong with the world.”
“One day I’m going to kill a lot of people and it will be your fault,” Jahnsen says Amati texted her. The final message of the exchange occurred one hour before the attack. Amati has plead not guilty to the six charges, including two counts of attempted homicide. The defense argues Amati, who was born as a boy named Karl, was suffering from mental illness at the time, effects of the “love drug” MDMA sparked the rampage, and that there was even possibly demonic possession. Amati claims, after leaving the date with Jahnsen, to have heard whispered voices that then became louder.
“They stopped being whispers. They started being actual words,” Amati said in court. “I started seeing some of the violent visions I’d seen previously of me running at police with the axe and being shot dead.” Amati said the voices “had been telling me to kill and maim and inflict pain on people and start the rise of hell on earth.”
“I recall everything going quiet and feeling that voice come inside me,” Amati said, claiming to have woke in the hospital with no recollection of the attacks. Paramedic Megan Coolahan, who arrived at the scene to treat Amati, told the court that tests performed on Amati in the back of an ambulance showed “she wasn’t unconscious.” When they reached the hospital, Coolahan said Amati bolted up from the stretcher, pulled out a tube and said “should I shove this up my arse?” then became violent and needed to be restrained.
Forensic pharmacologist John Farrar told the court blood work following the attacked showed a moderate quantity of MDMA in Amati’s system, “which is not associated with aggression or violence,” he said, saying the substance is known as “the love drug” and “tends to cause increased trust in other people, emotional bonding. Primarily people take it … as a sort of feel good response.”
For the trifecta, Amita’s defense is also claiming gender-transitioning hormones have caused mental illness. Amati says hormone therapy has caused depression, and told a psychiatrist she “had no choice” in taking them. Claiming mental illness is a reliable strategy to be handed a reduced sentence.
All three victims survived the attack. Rimmer was rushed to Royal Prince Alfred Hospital with “massive trauma” to his face, on par with “a significant car accident,” plastic surgeon Shiv Chopra told the court. “A millimeter or two above [would have had] significant consequences, potentially life threatening,” Dr Chopra said. “A few millimeters above would mean a massive bleed to the brain.”
The Australian media is following the trial closely with one glaring omission permeating several mainstream news sources. News.com.au, “Australia’s #1 News Source,” and other sites have refused to publish that Amati is transgender, simply referring to Amati as a “woman” and by the prefix “Ms.” Buzzfeed, in the U.S., is also conducting damage control for the trans lobby, by leaving out the t-word and only mentioning toward the bottom of an article that Amati was taking some mysterious, feminizing hormones that may have affected “her” mood. Nevermind had Amati won a beauty pageant, rescued a cat from a burning building, or won Employee of the Month, “transgender” would be the first word in the headline.
On cross examination in court on Monday, Amati claimed to have not been “angry,” at the time of the attack, while still insisting on not remembering it, but was sad over repeated sexual rejection from biological women. “I have experienced rejection countless times before,” Amati said. “[Rejection] has happened over and over — it is a part of my experience.”
The trial is ongoing in Sydney.