Former Rebels bikie jailed over assault with machete

John Ford

A former Rebels bikie was paranoid that members of the club were out to get him when he launched a brutal machete attack on a stranger at South Geelong railway station.

John Ford, 49, of Thomson, was yesterday jailed for up to seven years for the unprovoked incident that left his victim fearing he would die.

The County Court heard the attack on February 1, 2019, came months after Ford had walked out on the Rebels after spending 20 years with the motorcycle club.

The father of five feared retribution for leaving the club and had armed himself with a machete for protection when he crossed paths with the victim aboard a V-Line train.

As the late-night service arrived at South Geelong, Ford noticed the man had spilt soft drink on his lap and joked to his partner: “Look at this, he’s pissed himself.”

The 41-year-old victim exited the train with his bicycle and was subjected to further mocking from Ford’s partner on the station platform.

He told the woman to “f–off” moments before Ford pulled a machete and swung it at the victim, causing a wound so deep that it severed nerves and exposed muscles in the man’s arm.

The victim pedalled from the scene “terrified” that Ford would continue the attack, Judge Susan Pullen said.

Heavily bleeding, he rode his bike to St John of God Geelong Hospital and crawled to the door.

The hospital was closed but he managed to attract the attention of cleaners before he lost consciousness.

An ambulance took him to Geelong hospital’s emergency department where he underwent surgery.

The court heard the machete partially severed the main nerve controlling the victim’s lower left arm and that it remained unclear whether he would regain full mobility.

Ford has been in custody since police arrested him at his home six days after the incident.

Earlier this year, a jury found him guilty of intentionally causing serious injury.

The court was told yesterday that Ford accepted he had “overreacted” to the situation.

A psychologist who assessed him opined that the attack occurred while the exbikie was experiencing anxiety and paranoia related to his departure from the Rebels.

Ford claimed he had been threatened when he left the club and that he held ongoing fears of retribution due to his decision to leave.

He told the psychologist he was not in his “right mind” at the time he inflicted the injuries on the victim.

Judge Pullen said the attack was particularly concerning given it involved a stranger and had stemmed from a minor incident on the train.

“It is sufficient for present purposes to simply say the facts in this case are most serious and your behaviour obviously unacceptable,” she said.

“The victim of your offending has suffered considerably as a result of it.”

Ford will be eligible for parole after serving four years and nine months.

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Source: Geelong Advertiser