Wallabies star’s wife plagued by home invasion memories

Cheryl Goodenough |

Toutai Kefu was at court for the sentencing of two teens who broke into his home and attacked him.
Toutai Kefu was at court for the sentencing of two teens who broke into his home and attacked him.

Rachel Kefu is plagued by vivid images of her Wallabies star husband and her son bleeding after teenagers armed with a cane-cutting sickle broke into their home.

August 16 had been a special day for her family: in 2003 Toutai Kefu played his 60th rugby union Test match for Australia and their daughter Madison was born.

But 18 years later it was the date of a real-life nightmare, Mrs Kefu said.

She was speaking on Monday during sentencing proceedings in the Brisbane Supreme Court for two boys, who cannot be named as they were 15 at the time they broke into the Kefu family home in the inner-Brisbane suburb of Coorparoo in 2021.

They have pleaded guilty to charges including intentionally causing grievous bodily harm relating to the invasion of the Kefus’ home and the theft of a car from another property on the same morning.

Rachel Kefu arrives at the Supreme Court
Rachel Kefu described the terrifying 2021 home invasion in the Brisbane Supreme Court. (Jono Searle/AAP PHOTOS)

Mrs Kefu woke about 3am to the sound of car doors before finding two teenagers inside the home.

The boys – one armed with a large cane-cutting sickle – demanded car keys, telling Mrs Kefu to “f**king shut up” and threatening to kill her, the court was told.

Woken by his wife’s screams Kefu told the teens to leave, with the couple gesturing to car keys in a bowl.

But instead of taking the opportunity to leave without violence, one teen struck Mrs Kefu with the sickle.

During the struggle that followed Kefu was stabbed in the torso, their son Joshua was cut as he tried to intervene and daughter Madison was also injured.

A neighbour who came to the family’s aid, Ben Cannon, tackled one teen, pinning him down until police arrived.

Mrs Kefu said she has been in a constant state of hypervigilance since the attack, feels paralysed by fear and often sits at her bedroom window for hours at night.

“I constantly experience flashbacks of the crime and I am still plagued by the graphic memories of my family fighting for lives, to survive, that night,” she told the court.

Mrs Kefu said vivid mental images from the night continue to replay in her mind.

For a moment during the attack she thought her son and husband were fatally injured, she said.

Joshua had deep cuts over his back and arms and blood all over him, while Toutai Kefu had his whole hand inside his stomach trying to stop himself bleeding out, she said.

“I cannot erase these images … it was so traumatic and continues to feel painfully raw.”

Toutai Kefu's family home (file image)
Mrs Kefu said she has been in a state of hypervigilance since the attack in her inner Brisbane home. (Dan Peled/AAP PHOTOS)

Mrs Kefu sustained injuries to her dominant hand that are not expected to fully heal.

“The knife wound was done with such force that it chipped the bone and several of the nerves, tendons, ligaments and muscles in my left forearm,” she said.

Calling for the maximum sentence to be handed down, she said the teens are old enough to know the difference between right and wrong.

“I believe they must be held accountable for their actions as actions have very real consequences,” she said.

Two other boys, aged 15 and 13, who were in the car outside the Kefus’ home and who also took part in the earlier theft, have already been sentenced in the Brisbane Childrens Court.

They were sentenced to two-and-a-half years’ detention and ordered to serve 50 per cent of that.

The sentencing of the older boys is due to continue on Tuesday before Justice Peter Davis.