From top student to triple attempted axe murderer
EVIE Amati, the transgender axe attacker convicted of three attempted murders, grew up in a comfortable central Perth suburb, the child of West Australian trade union royalty.
Then named Karl, Amati was gifted academically and would go on to top the state in English, and become the highest achiever of Western Australia's top public school in English literature, ancient history and political science.
In 2009, Karl no doubt made his parents swell with pride.
But last month, they were forced to hear about their child's intelligence and academic achievements in a Sydney courtroom.
In the dock of court 2.3 of the Downing Centre sat that once brilliant child, now a 26-year-old transgender woman by the name of Evie Amati.
Her father Michel Amati, mother Melanie Booth and sister Chiara had to relive the horror of Amati's enraged axe attack on two convenience store customers innocently buying a pie and a carton of milk.
Amati's barrister Charles Waterstreet explained how his client could have carried out "these horrible acts" by way of mental illness.
A jury didn't believe him.
So how did an intelligent young person from a decent family come to face spending up to 25 years in prison for such brutal crimes?
Michel was painted as a harsh disciplinarian by Mr Waterstreet during Amati's trial before Judge Mark Williams.
This included an allegation, made while Michel sat in court, that he once kicked Karl in the rear end as Karl bothered his sister about being a girl.
Amati's parents were well known in WA's union movement, with Michel being promoted to industrial advocate of the WA State School Teachers Union, and a WA WorkCover agent.
Amati's mother Melanie Booth became WA organiser of the CSIRO Staff Association division of the CPSU, and consulted with federal ministers on issues such as disability services.
On graduating from Perth's Shenton College, a progressive coeducational school just 5km from home, Amati achieved a score of 99.4 and was awarded a WA Government Certificate of Excellence.
Amati was in WA's top 1 per cent of high school graduates, and the following year would head east to Sydney.
Through family union connections, Amati obtained a job as a member service centre organiser with the CPSU, based at Haymarket near Sydney's Chinatown.
Amati was also studying US foreign policy in Sydney.
For the first two years at the CPSU, Amati was known as Karl and worked to avert disputes between union members and management.
In a union profile of Amati once she had transitioned, she said she fought to "bring calm and clarity to members in moments of confusion and vulnerability".
"Delegates need to know that a proactive approach to assisting members in trouble is essential to minimising the possible harm that can be caused," it said.
"Being adversarial may be necessary to secure positive outcomes for our members, but should be used as a last resort.
"We need to minimise the extent to which escalation and dispute is required."
However, news.com.au has learned that as a union staffer, Amati was known for her sense of entitlement, lack of sympathy with those who didn't share her outlook and frequent sick days.
The latter may be explained somewhat by Mr Waterstreet's defence case for Amati.
He told the court that Amati had been suicidal and at one point "took stress leave for a couple of weeks after receiving a call about someone else's suicide".
He also said Amati had to go home twice a day for physical reasons after her gender reassignment surgery.
A former union affiliate of Amati has, however, described her as "lazy".
In April 2012, Amati was still identifying publicly as Karl and posted on Facebook: "EVERYONE! My phone is f***ed, pls Facebook me in the interim - regards an irate-as-f*** Karl".
Karl was also a drummer in the band Everything I Have is Broken and performed gigs with the other male members at pubs in Sydney's inner city.
The post attracted a stream of positive responses from family, friends and colleagues.
A union and LGBTI community member encouraged Amati, posting "Karl, obviously the timing and the direction you choose to take this is up to you, but please let us CPSU people know if there are any ways we can support you … there is lots of love for you here".
Amati replied she would do a "coming out" email at work.
She began hormone therapy and joked on Facebook about growing breasts, which her sister Chiara responded with, "Sorry, boobs don't run in our family. So don't expect too much."
Amati became something of a transgender activist on Facebook, railing against violence meted out to trans people and praising transgender rocker Laura Jane Grace as a role model.
Physically, Amati seems to have mirrored the multiple tattoos, black clothing and punk style of the American musician, formerly Tom Gabel.
In 2014, Amati, her girlfriend, parents and sister flew to Thailand for her to have gender reassignment surgery.
The lurid post-surgery description from Mr Waterstreet was meant to elicit sympathy for the accused's pain and suffering.
Mr Waterstreet said Amati started smoking more cannabis "for relief of this excruciating pain" and took ecstasy but was "dead set against" amphetamines.
Back in Sydney, the LGBTI community that lived in the inner west suburbs had members that knew both Evie Amati and her victim Sharon Hacker, who had a unique costume shop in Newtown.
Both Amati and Ms Hacker were drummers in a band.
Their worlds were about to collide in the most terrible way.
Ms Hacker wouldn't learn until later that some of her transgender friends had social media encounters with Amati, who admonished them to undergo surgery or they would not be properly trans.
"She would shame them online if they wouldn't go through surgery," Ms Hacker said.
"It's not for everyone; everyone's different."
In 2015, Amati split up with her girlfriend and Mr Waterstreet told the court her "state of mind deteriorated".
"She started to present at hospitals and started to attempt suicide," he said, saying on two occasions "trying to jump on a train line".
Crown prosecutor Daniel McMahon told Amati's trial that she had fantasised about ending her life "in a blaze of violence".
In March 2016, she had wanted to "twist people's necks on a bus".
In November 2016, Amati bought a long-handled axe weighing 2kg and tested it out on some furniture.
She sent a Facebook message to a prospective female partner on December 3, 2016, saying "OMG I just destroyed an old couch with a new axe. It was incredibly satisfying but gives me ideas haha".
On January 3, 2017, Amati gave the woman an ultimatum about a meeting between the two of them. Three days later, the woman updated her Facebook relationship status indicating she was with a man.
Amati unfriended her on Facebook. On the night of January 6, after going to Tinder, Amati met up with two women, one her Tinder date.
They began drinking vodka and took a capsule, which they believed to be ecstasy or MDMA.
It was instead MDA, which a chemist would describe to the trial as "the love drug".
Amati's two companions felt "euphoric".
On the way out to a hotel, Amati decided to leave the two women after believing her date found her "unattractive … on the basis she was transgender".
Over Facebook messenger, Amati would go on to say, "some people deserve to die, I hate people".
At 1.13am she posted, "One day I am going to kill a lot of people", and then at 1.31am, "I know where you live haha".
At 1.55am, Amati changed her Facebook status to: "Humans are only able to destroy to hate so that is what I shall do."
Amati left her home in Enmore, headphones on, listening to one of her favourite songs, Flatline by American rapper B.o.B.
She had the axe in her hand and a long knife in the back pocket of her black shorts.
At 2.19am, Amati can be seen on CCTV entering Enmore 7-Eleven, doing a lap of the shop and coming up to Ben Rimmer, who is waiting to buy a pie.
Mr Rimmer later said he thought Amati's axe was part of a fancy dress outfit, and in the video footage he can be seen smiling and touching it.
But as Mr Rimmer said, Amati was too close to him and he felt a sense of foreboding, "that something wasn't quite right … I felt threatened".
Amati waited until Mr Rimmer turned to pay for his pie and then swung the axe down on his face.
After being struck, Mr Rimmer panicked and thought he was going to "bleed out" on the floor of the 7-Eleven, so profusely was blood streaming from his head
But Amati wasn't finished. She then attacked the departing customer, Ms Hacker, who had just bought milk.
After Ms Hacker fell to the ground, Amati swung the axe up a second time and brought it down with such force that she surely would have killed Ms Hacker, had she not narrowly missed her.
Amati then stepped over Ms Hacker, and swaggered off into the night.
On the street, homeless man Shane Redwood saw Amati approaching him.
Perhaps the instincts of the street told him, he would be next.
He saved himself from Amati's first axe blow with his backpack, fell to the ground with the second blow and then, despite his disability and heart condition, managed to run away.
Amati walked up the road and into the front yard of a property, propped the axe up against the wall and lay on the ground.
When police and paramedics found her there, she feigned unconsciousness.
Taken to St Vincent's Hospital, she ripped the cannula out of her arm and smirked when officers asked her name.
"I don't have a name," she said, licking her lips, "f**k me, f**k me, f**k me."
Mr Waterstreet would claim Amati was suffering mental illness exacerbated by the alcohol, female hormones, antidepressants, cannabis and MDA tablet she took that night, plus romantic rejection.
In a recorded police interview about 13 hours after the attack, Amati looked composed and repeatedly said, "I respectfully exercise my right to silence."
Crown prosecutor Daniel McMahon told the court Amati was just angry with the world and went out to take her revenge.
The jury believed Mr McMahon.
In brief court hearings after Amati's arrest and in a failed bail application, the accused claimed she had not been properly provided with hormones for transgender people.
She also claimed she had been held in a male prison, although Cessnock Correctional Centre has a female unit where other women prisoners are housed.
Amati was moved to Mary Wade Correctional Centre, a maximum-security prison at Lidcombe in western Sydney.
Since her encounter with Amati's axe, Ms Hacker has lost 25kg, suffers continuing nerve pain and her daughter has become agoraphobic and fearful of going out after dark.
After the attack, Ms Hacker was trolled online by people accusing her "of being a bad mother" because she went to the shop to buy milk at 2am.
Ms Hacker says she hopes whatever sentence Amati receives "she uses it for rehabilitation purposes".
After Amati was convicted of three counts of attempted murder last week, she sobbed in the dock and hugged both Mr Waterstreet and her mother.
NSW District Court Judge Mark Williams will sentence her in September.