Before a 7-Eleven store customer was attacked by a transgender woman with an axe in Sydney's inner west, he initially thought the weapon may have been a fancy-dress party prop.
"I wasn't alarmed at first," Benjamin Rimmer told a NSW District Court jury on Monday.
"She stood very close to me and I remember having an ill-feeling something was not right.
"She was holding an axe with two hands in front of her."
He and Sharon Hacker gave evidence of being attacked by a stranger, Evie Amati, 26, who has pleaded not guilty to two counts of wounding with intent to murder and one of attempting to wound a pedestrian with intent to murder.
Three alternative charges allege the intention was to cause grievous bodily harm in the attacks which took place in the early hours of January 7, 2017, at the store in Enmore.
The attacks are not in issue, but the jurors will have to consider Amati's intent and whether a defence of mental illness can be made out.
Prosecutor Daniel McMahon referred to a Facebook message weeks before the attack when Amati quipped: "OMG I just destroyed an old couch with an axe, it was extremely satisfying" and that it had given her an idea.
Less than half-an-hour before Amati walked into the store, armed with the axe and with a knife in her back pocket, she sent a message saying: "Humans are only able to destroy, to hate so that is what I shall do".
Earlier she sent one saying: "One day I am going to kill a lot of people".
Her barrister Charles Waterstreet said while the CCTV footage from the store captures "the body of Evie Amati", the question for them was her state of mind.
His client was a "super-intelligent" woman of very good character who had hormonal therapy and surgical intervention in Thailand, but who had a history of depression and suicidal and homicidal ideation.
At the time of the attacks, her fragile mind was affected by a "toxic mixture" of drugs - hormonal, cannabis and an amphetamine-based drug, which she and her friends unwittingly thought was ecstasy.
Mr Rimmer said he was thinking the axe was a prop when he turned around and felt something like a king-hit across his face which knocked him to the floor.
He saw he was bleeding profusely and started to panic, so took off his shirt to stem the flow.
He underwent lengthy surgery, having sustained a fractured nasal bone, eye socket and cheek bone.
Sharon Hacker described being attacked from behind with the axe, which resulted in her falling, feeling disoriented and feeling a throb in her head.
She suffered a fracture to the base of her skull but her thick dreadlocks apparently cushioned the impact.
Due to her extreme nerve pain, she now cannot sleep more than three hours at a time.
The trial is continuing.
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