'Brutal beating': Crown wants 9 years for woman who killed friend with wine bottle | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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'Brutal beating': Crown wants 9 years for woman who killed friend with wine bottle

Alishia Lemp was killed at the Canada Inn in February 2020.
Image Credit: FACEBOOK: Alishia Lemp

It's not known what caused the fight between Paige Howse and Alishia Lemp on a winter night more than four years ago.

The two were friends and had been to the Vernon casino together that evening.

But hours later back at the cheap Vernon motel where they were staying an argument ensued and things turned extremely violent.

Howse repeatedly hit Lemp with a 1.5-litre wine bottle leaving blood splattered throughout the motel room and her one-time friend dead.

She messaged a friend and asked if he knew CPR. He told her to call 911. But she didn't call 911, instead, she asked the friend if he had any liquor he could bring to her room.

Police cordoned off the motel following the discovery of Alishia Lemp's body.
Police cordoned off the motel following the discovery of Alishia Lemp's body.

At some point, she then dragged Lemp's body into the bathroom and it remained in the room for about 24 hours before Howse finally left the room and headed to Kelowna.

"She cruelly and callously beat Ms. Lemp, she didn't stop striking the victim until the victim was on the floor," Crown prosecutor Margaret Cissell told the Vernon courtroom today, May 17, describing it as a "brutal beating."

A few days after Howse left her friend dead in her motel room she was arrested in Kelowna.

However, it was more than a year later that she was finally charged with the second-degree murder of Lemp. She later made bail.

Last fall, she pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter.

Howse appeared on video from custody while Lemp's mother and several family members watched the court proceedings from the public gallery.

"I felt my whole body and my world collapse around me," Lemp's mother told the court in a victim impact statement. "I feel anguish and despair for not being able to... protect her."

"Paige has committed this crime against our whole family and we are all victims," she said.

The court heard how Howse, who was 26 at the time, had met Lemp, who was 33, as they both worked in the sex trade.

Lemp had arrived in Vernon to stay with Howse at the Canadas Best Value Inn and Suites on 32 Street in Vernon. She was supposed to stay for a week.

After the pair had gotten back from the casino some sort of argument erupted.

Guests at the motel told police there was yelling, screaming, and banging coming from their room for around three hours throughout the night.

One guest described the sound as like "sex noises," and another guest like someone repeatedly banging against the wall.

When staff opened the motel room door more than 24 hours afterwards they found the room trashed with the TV turned over and broken glass scattered around. The walls were covered in blood splatter.

Staff found Lemp's body in the bathroom, she was already cold and her fingers had started to turn grey.

The Crown argued Howse should spent seven to nine years in jail for the killing.

Defence lawyer Mark Swartz argued for a lighter sentence of four years in jail which with credit for time already in custody would amount to less than a year behind bars.

Swartz highlighted a psychiatric report that recently had diagnosed Howse with schizophrenia and borderline personality disorder.

The court heard how Howse had periods of psychosis and was a struggling alcoholic.

Her grandparents had attended residential school and she'd suffered abuse, including sexual abuse as a child. Howse had first started taking drugs at age 11 and while she'd worked as a health-care aid and had a 12-year-old son, she lost custody of him years previously.

The defence highlighted Howse's recently diagnosed schizophrenia as a mitigating aspect in the case, but the Crown disputed it.

Cissell pointed out that various CCTV footage throughout the evening did not show her in a psychotic state and there was no evidence of hallucinations.

"Ms. Howse was in her right mind," the Crown prosecutor told the court.

Following a day of legal arguments the court was adjourned.

Justice Sheri Ann Donegan will decide on a sentence at a later date.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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