An Adelaide man who stabbed his autistic friend and decapitated a puppy during a “sadistic” crime spree has been jailed for at least three years.
James Alexander Rech, 20, was sentenced in the District Court on Friday for charges including assaulting police, aggravated assault and ill treatment of an animal on separate occasions in 2017 and 2018.
In sentencing, Judge Sophie David said Rech had repeatedly stabbed his housemate’s eight-month-old American staffordshire terrier in retaliation for an unpaid debt.
“Police located you standing in the street, covered in blood, holding the head of the dog in one hand and the meat cleaver in the other,” she said.Remove Div
Earlier, Rech had subjected a “vulnerable” autistic man to a “painful and humiliating assault” at his home.
Judge David said Rech, affected by methamphetamine, became angry after the man told him he had been arrested over a sex offence.
He demanded the man clean his kitchen and slashed his thigh, before using a knife he had heated with a blowtorch to cauterise the wound.
In sentencing, Judge David said Rech had targeted police officers, his then- girlfriend, his housemate, an associate, a stranger and a defenceless animal.
“You also, on occasion, appear to have taken some sadistic pleasure in observing another person’s pain and discomfort,” she said.
Judge David said Rech suffered leukaemia as a teenager and his drug use intensified when he thought he was going to die.
Rech was sentenced to five years in jail with a non-parole period of three years, and banned indefinitely from owning an animal.
Outside court, RSPCA lawyer Damon Ind said no sentence would reflect the fear and panic endured by the dog during the attack.
“That dog would have been so panicked, so horrified at not being able to escape that attack,” he said.
“You are never going to be able to bring that dog back.”