A jealous boyfriend who rammed his car into a Sydney McDonald’s in an attempt to run over his partner claims he did so because his PlayStation 5 was manipulating his mind, a court has heard.
Abbas Hayder Al-Khafaji, 28, faced Sydney Downing Centre on Friday ahead of his sentencing in March, with the court hearing how he had written a “letter of apology” to the court and the victim.
In the letter, Mr Al-Khafaji said the McDonald’s incident happened because his TV, PlayStation 5 and car radio were “manipulating” his mind.
Mr Al-Khafaji’s lawyer Michael Fantin used the letter the argue to the court there is an “underlying mental health condition there” that should be taken into consideration during sentencing.
The court also heard that when Mr Al-Khafaji was taken into custody at Narellan Police Station after the incident he also told police his “PS5 and phone were controlling him”.
The dramatic scenes unfolded back in February 2022 with Mr Al-Khafaji jumping out of his car brandishing a knife after he smashed into the fast food restaurant.
Mr Al-Khafaji could then be seen on CCTV approaching the victim, accusing her of cheating on him. A 23-year-old manager stepped in and called the police.
Judge Tanya Smith on Friday heard how Mr Al-Khafaji had been diagnosed with psychosis in 2019 and had stopped taking his medication at the time of the incident. He had also been had taking cannabis.
Mr Fantin said his client was not in control and “not himself” at the time of the incident, which was outlined by the victim’s account of what happened.
“She is saying this is not the person I recognise [in her statement],” his lawyer said.
“This is a guy who is repeatedly questioning her ‘Where were you? What were you doing?’ If someone is really agitated, he would be yelling or screaming at the person but he’s in a calm state. He’s not yelling at her, he’s just repeating himself.”
On a previous occasion, Mr Al-Khafaji pleaded guilty to a series of charges, including using an offensive weapon with an intent to commit an indictable offence, destroying or damaging property worth between $5000 and $15,000, and contravening the conditions of an AVO.
He will be sentenced on March 28.
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