A young homeless woman who stabbed a man as he drove her to an East Albury shed where she slept has been released from jail.
It was decided that Victoria Bugden’s 190 days in custody since her arrest were enough to cover a non-parole period for an 18-month jail term.
But in setting her free on Wednesday, magistrate Chris McRobert expressed his concern at where she might end up if she did not adhere to the directions of NSW Probation and Parole.
“I understand she has had troubles with alcohol addiction,” Mr McRobert said, highlighting the fact that Bugden was still displaying symptoms of alcohol withdrawal six days after her arrest – including hallucinations.
A worrying issue though, Mr McRobert said, was that Bugden, 24, might return to a life on the streets.
“Homelessness is … very much something that puts her at risk of further offending.”
Albury Local Court was told that Bugden – who had a shed at the corner of Elizabeth Mitchell Drive and the Riverina Highway listed on court papers as her address – had been in custody since February 7.
She previously pleaded guilty to reckless wounding and custody of a knife in a public place, getting a bond on the second charge. Defence solicitor Shaun Mortimer said a key to Bugden’s future was her wish to return to her home state of Western Australia, where her boyfriend lived.
But Mr Mortimer said Bugden had a living option in the Albury area that would allow her to be placed under Probation and Parole’s supervision while on parole.
The court heard that Bugden and the victim met about two weeks before the incident when he saw her walking along the roadside and gave her a lift into Albury.
Bugden texted the victim just before midnight on February 6 to say she was “having trouble” with her boyfriend and that she needed him to come pick her up.
He initially did not want to help, so she texted to say she feared for her safety.
The victim collected her from near the shed and they returned to his Lavington home, where they had consensual sex. The pair left the house the next day at 5am as he had to go to work. During this car trip she refused his request to delete his number from her mobile contact list.
“The accused produced a knife from her bag,” police said, “and swung the knife towards the throat area of the victim”, who suffered a superficial wound to his throat and lacerations to two fingers as he defended himself.