NYE machete murderer ‘slashed before’

A man jailed for at least 17 years for slashing the jugular of a fellow party goer at a New Year’s Eve beach rave, causing him to bleed out on the sand, had two prior convictions for wounding people with a machete.


Joseph Robert Houston, 24, was found guilty of murdering James Dorloff, 20, and causing grievous bodily harm to another man on Western Australia’s Wedge Island in January last year before fleeing and burying the weapon in the dunes.

Witnesses testified during the trial in May that Houston was swinging the machete and screaming “come on, c****, who wants to have a go?” and “who wants to get stabbed?” before attacking Mr Dorloff.

Houston was sentenced in the Supreme Court of WA on Monday to life in prison with a non-parole period of 17 years for the two offences, as well as breaching an intensive supervision order.

The court heard he had two prior convictions for wounding people with a machete.

In 2011, he attacked a man at an out-of-control party while police were trying to break it up, and in 2014, he chased down a man on a bike after an argument, slashing his back so badly he required plastic surgery.

Justice Stephen Hall said, with the benefit of hindsight, it was almost inevitable that someone would have been seriously injured or killed by Houston.

The court heard Houston felt no remorse or empathy for his actions and maintained he acted in self-defence.

Justice Hall said while Houston did not suffer a major mental illness, he did experience “emotional emptiness” from an underlying personality disorder, characterised by domestic violence and alcohol abuse.

Mr Dorloff’s parents said outside the court many people had suffered from the senseless murder of their son, who was just a happy boy who liked having fun.

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