'I'm terrified of Kevin:' Elderly West Kelowna woman still afraid of son who brutally beat her | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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'I'm terrified of Kevin:' Elderly West Kelowna woman still afraid of son who brutally beat her

Kevin Lee Barrett, 60, is pictured in this photo from Facebook.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Facebook
January 26, 2021 - 11:02 AM


The West Kelowna man who beat his mother and threw her down a remote embankment pleaded guilty to aggravated assault today, putting an end to a trial that was scheduled to last at least another week.

While Kevin Lee Barrett's trial came to a swift, surprise ending the effects of an attack he levied two years earlier will last a lifetime.

Eleanor Holmes, 80, said she loves and forgives the son who nearly beat her to death April  29, 2019, but that's not enough.

"I don't want to give a lot of information in this statement, because I don't want to stir Kevin up again. I'm terrified of Kevin. I'm old and have a weak heart. I do not want Kevin back here. I don't think a peace bond or protection order will keep him away," Holmes wrote in a victim impact statement read to the court by Crown counsel Patricia O'Neil today, Jan. 26.

O'Neil added: "Although Ms. Holmes's statement is brief, my submission is the court can conclude from her ongoing fear of Mr. Barrett, that this offence has had a significant psychological impact ... given the horrific circumstances of the offence and the fact that her attacker was her son, it could hardly be otherwise."

Barrett, then 60, had long suffered from bipolar disorder and the court heard today his behaviour deteriorated greatly when he went off his medication and drank. He had been in and out of jail for violent episodes dating back to 1977, with periodic breaks. He's been in custody for 639 days already for the attack on his mother.

During these times that he went off his meds and started to drink, O'Neil said, his mother was not spared from his behaviour.   

O'Neil, however, said Holmes said she was his only source of support and would allow him to stay with her because she loved him and didn't want him to be homeless. During times of deteriorating mental health, she would fear for her safety. 

Holmes, the court heard, was living in a one-bedroom mobile home at Westview Village Trailer Park. Her son, Barrett, arrived at her residence several months before the attack, looking for a place to stay.

“He was prone to fluctuations of mood and would become angry and yell at Ms. Holmes,” O’Neil said.

On the evening of April 28, 2019, Holmes called 911 because Barrett was yelling and screaming at her, and at the suggestion of a Mountie who was called in, he left.

By the next morning, however, Barrett returned, O'Neil said and asked Holmes to drive him to an errand, because he didn't have a driver's license. On their way back, Barrett said he wanted to go on another errand and told her to stop because he was going to drive.

Holmes pulled over her vehicle near the trailer park entrance and Barrett pulled her to the passenger side of the vehicle where he began to beat her with his fists and with various objects that were inside the vehicle, including a crescent wrench. He ripped out chunks of her hair and bit her left hand so hard that she still has a scar and he attempted to gouge out her eyes. He yanked and twisted one of her legs and threw her dentures, out of the vehicle, according to the statement of fact.

Barrett then is alleged to have driven his mother to a remote location on Hidden Creek Forest Service Road, while she was wrapped in a blanket.

When the vehicle stopped, he removed some of his mother’s clothing and her sandals then rolled her down the embankment … uttering the words, ‘Rest in peace, you fucking bitch.’”

Then he drove away with her purse and mobile phone. Holmes got up and eventually was spotted and taken to an ER where Dr. Jeffrey Epler took CT scans and X-rays that show she didn't suffer any broken bones during the assault.

"However, she had extensive bruising and swelling about her whole face, particularly on the left side, and bruising to her neck," O'Neil said. "She had bruises and scrapes on her abdomen, arms, legs and feet. She was missing a significant amount of hair on the left side of her scalp."

She had a bite wound, measuring two by two centimetres on the back of her left hand, which was left open to minimize the risk of infection. Her white blood cell count and lactate levels were consistent with having experienced a significant amount of physiological and psychological stress.

In the meantime, Barrett went to a friend's and was arrested without incident.

As he was taken into custody, however, he was "rambling nonstop about various unrelated topics."

"He was confused about why he had been arrested as he claimed to have been at home all day," O'Neill said. "He asked where his mother was (and the RCMP officer) told him that she was in the hospital and that he was a suspect."

Barrett asked if they "found her on the mountain."

Once he arrived at the police station, RCMP said he had abrasions, and bruises to his knuckles from striking his mom.

Sentencing submissions started after the statement of fact was read. Whether Justice Steven Wilson sentences today remains to be seen.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Kathy Michaels or call 250-718-0428 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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