Carjacking mob attack tourists

Photo by Con Chronis/AAP.

by Cam Lucadou-Wells

A Pakenham woman who was part of a mob that inflicted a violent, “sickening” carjacking on two young tourists in Narre Warren South has been sentenced.

Hannah Khat, 20, pleaded guilty at the Victorian County Court to carjacking, intentionally causing injury and handling stolen goods as well as committing offences on bail.

The two female victims had driven from Adelaide to Melbourne in February 2023 to visit two males they had met on social media.

Upon picking up the males, the tourists were requested to drive them to a drinking session at a park near Casey Central shopping centre that night.

At Golden Grove Drive, Khat – who was 18 at the time – and about 10 others dragged the tourists out of the car.

The front passenger was hit in the face from behind, pulled by her hair and punched, stomped and kicked to the head and body multiple times on the ground by the mob.

Khat’s punches and kicks were recorded on a mobile phone camera.

The victim suffered a broken, dislocated nose, severe abrasions to her face, elbow, shoulders and knees as well as wounds from where her ear-rings were ripped from her ears.

During the fracas, the tourists’ car was stolen by an unknown offender.

Judge Kellie Blair, on sentencing in 3 July, told Khat she ought to be “ashamed” of her “deplorable” role against a pair of vulnerable and outnumbered young women.

CCTV footage of the attack was “sickening to watch”, with Khat punching and kicking a cowering and defenceless victim and causing “considerable injury”.

At the time of offending, Khat was considerably drunk – and had been regularly drinking a vodka bottle a day.

Khat’s difficult family life, untreated grief and borderline personality disorder were noted. She had reportedly used alcohol to suppress her mental health issues, while worsening her conditions.

After her arrest, Khat had been in and out of remand and breached her bail conditions twice due to non-compliance.

Noting this, Judge Blair said Khat’s rehabilitation prospects were far from extinguished.

Her age was the most compelling mitigating factor, Judge Blair said. Typically, young offenders were more impulsive, less insightful than older adults, as well as being more likely to make a positive change.

Jailing young offenders was more likely to hinder than improve their rehabilitation prospects, which in turn impacted on community safety, Judge Blair said.

Khat was convicted and jailed for 202 days – which had already been served on remand.

She was released on a two-year community corrections order with 195 hours of unpaid work.

Khat’s defence lawyer had told the court that Khat was “not ready” to engage in mental health treatment as part of the order.