‘He put the knife to my chest’: Witness describes moment Chilean backpacker was stabbed at Cairns hostel

A friend of a Chilean backpacker, who was stabbed in broad daylight, has told a Cairns court how the attacker held a knife to her chest before pursuing her friend and stabbing her in a car park.

CONTENT WARNING: Readers may find the contents of this report distressing.

The victim, a 26-year-old Chilean woman who cannot be named for legal reasons, was in the first few days of an Australian holiday when she was attacked in the kitchen of Gecko’s Backpacker hostel.

Raynard Gregory Moodoonuthia, 36, who was living and working at the hostel at the time, has pleaded guilty to assault occasioning bodily harm, but not guilty to attempted murder and sexual assault.

The Supreme Court trial in Cairns today, heard evidence from Marasol Fernandez-Aido, who was travelling with the victim at the time.

Ms Fernandez-Aido, who gave evidence via telephone from Chile, was assisted by a courthouse interpreter.

The court heard how she repeatedly pleaded for Mr Moodoonuthia to stop in the moments leading up to her friend’s stabbing.

Ms Fernandez-Aido told the court she and the victim had finished a late breakfast on the day of the attack, and that the victim was washing dishes in the hostel kitchen when Mr Moodoonuthia followed her into the room.

‘I saw the knife go inside her body’

She told the court she ran to the kitchen in time to see the victim push Mr Moodoonuthia in the chest and him retaliate by punching her in the face, then throwing her to the ground.

Ms Fernandez-Aido said Mr Moodoonuthia stood over the victim and punched her several more times in the face.

“I was desperate at that moment, I yelled at him, ‘please stop, please stop’,” Ms Fernandez-Aido said.

“He stopped for a moment and [the victim] took the opportunity to get up and run away.”

Ms Fernandez-Aido told the court she ran after her friend and saw Mr Moodoonuthia take two or three steps after them before he stopped, returned to the kitchen and picked up a knife.

She told the court she and the victim ran through the hostel to the front car park, where Mr Moodoonuthia then caught up to them and she again tried to intervene.

“I told him twice to stop chasing [the victim] with my arms open,” Ms Fernandez-Aido said.

Ms Fernandez-Aido told the court Mr Moodoonuthia grabbed the victim by her clothes and stabbed her back with the knife.

She said the victim turned and fell on her back, at which point Mr Moodoonuthia stood over her.

“He grabbed her by the neck and stabbed her around the top part of the chest,” Ms Fernandez-Aido said.

“I saw the knife go completely inside her body.”

The trial continues.