"I'M GOING TO KILL YOU AND I'M GOING TO BE SMILING AS YOU TAKE YOUR LAST BREATH."
KELOWNA – A local man with a history of physically abusing his wife was sentenced to 15 months in jail for an assault that left her with a cut lip, bruises and abrasions on her body.
On March 30, the man was unhappy that his wife was planning to go to a concert at a downtown pub on her birthday without him, Provincial Court Judge Brad Chapman heard today, Aug. 25. The couple met up after she left the pub, despite him being on a no contact order stemming from another assault on her. He drove her to her parents’ home where they played pool in the basement in the early morning hours until the argument resumed.
“He was upset because she had gone out and he began to call her names,” Crown lawyer Murray Kaay said. “She goes into the bedroom but he follows her. He talks of killing himself, killing her and says she ruined his life. He ultimately approaches her and takes off his belt.”
Kaay says he then told her he was going to strangle her with the belt.
“I’m going to kill you and I’m going to be smiling as you take your last breath,” he told her.
The man cannot be named because of a court order protecting the identity of his wife. He pleaded guilty to assault and uttering threats. Charges of choking to overcome resistance and attempted murder were dropped. This is the fifth instance of an assault against her in the last two years, according to court records.
Also in the house on March 30 were her parents and the couple’s two children, who heard the argument. The fight became physical when he got on top of her and smothered her with his body.
"She struggles to breathe… and manages to bite him,” Kaay said.
Eventually she managed to escape the bedroom, ran upstairs to her parents bedroom and woke them. When her father confronted the much larger assailant, he told her he was only trying to say goodbye.
“'I just wanted to give her a kiss,'” he said before leaving the home.
Police arrived shortly after and found injuries to her body and lip and the man was arrested later that day.
A psychiatric report characterized the man as an extremely jealous person with anger issues and an inability to control his behaviour especially when high on alcohol or drugs.
“There’s some significant victim impact in this case," Judge Chapman said, including panic attacks, inability to sleep, nightmares and anxiety for both the victim and one of the children.
Defence lawyer Grant Gray asked for a 12 month sentence while Crown said the previous criminal history warranted a sentence of 15 months.
The man had four previous convictions in the last two years, including assaults and threats that have resulted in several jail sentences of less than 90 days.
Chapman says that although the man broke conditions, he is not the only one to blame. His wife invited him over and did not notify police when he contacted her.
“If she accepted the protection he system was trying to put in place, presumably none of this would have happened,” he said. “There’s a certain level of mutual responsibility. He’s not the only one to blame for the daughter having nightmares. It's obvious the dynamic between (them) is a volatile and violent one... but (the courts) can only do so much."
The man, who has been in custody since his arrest and appeared via video, was sentenced to 15 months in jail and three years’ probation. He is not to have any contact with his wife and can only communicate with his kids through mail or by phone until his probation is over or until a new set of conditions are agreed upon.
“I’m hoping this will be my last time in here,” the man said. “Contact with my kids means a great deal to me.”
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