Karl Howard

PHOTO: Sydney real estate agent Karl Howard. FILE

A well-known real estate agent in Sydney, Karl Adon Howard, has been spared imprisonment after a court learned that he compensated one of the two women he attacked, one with a samurai sword, with a payment exceeding $200,000.

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On Friday, Howard, aged 47, received a sentence of community-based imprisonment under stringent conditions, having confessed to assaulting two women in a distressing incident. He acknowledged elbowing one woman, causing actual bodily harm, and recklessly inflicting grievous bodily harm to the other with a samurai sword.

Despite admitting to the assaults, Howard, aged 46 at the time of the incident, was acquitted of the intent to kill or murder the woman attacked with the sword. His defense contended that Howard, in the throes of drug psychosis, was incapable of forming the intent to harm the woman.

The incident occurred in February 2021 at Howard’s Annandale unit in Sydney’s inner west, where he exhibited erratic behavior and made violent gestures. Engaged in a cocaine binge and sleep-deprived for seven days, Howard ran around the house, behaving childishly and throwing items.

During the episode, he uttered threatening words to one woman, stating, “I need to kill you, you need to die, I love you but this needs to happen,” followed by elbowing her in the face. Howard then brandished a 1.5m samurai sword, charging at one of the women and striking her after retreating to another room.

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The court heard that Howard, amid the turmoil, dragged scissors along the kitchen bench. After fleeing his residence, he was captured on CCTV entering a nearby laneway, concealing himself in a ute with a shade cloth as police passed. He later emerged from the vehicle, covered in a tarp, and was promptly arrested.

In court, Howard’s barrister, Matt Johnston SC, revealed that his client had already compensated the woman assaulted with the sword with a payment of $225,000.

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During the sentencing on Friday, Judge Antony Townsden emphasized that the attack was unprovoked and not premeditated, although the use of a weapon was an aggravating factor. Howard received a conviction and a two-year-and-three-month intensive corrections order, mandating 250 hours of community service and abstinence from drugs and alcohol. The judge warned that any breach of these conditions would lead to immediate custody.

Howard had spent a year in custody on remand before being granted bail to attend a rehabilitation facility. Upon leaving the court on Friday, he declined to make any statements to the media.