Editor’s note: This story contains graphic and disturbing details.
A 21-year-old woman who beat a 46-year-old woman to death four years ago has been sentenced to 12 months of custody and supervision after pleading guilty to manslaughter.
Justice Bonnie Tulloch described the assault as a “brutal and senseless act” that occurred after both women had been drinking at the victim’s home.
The offender — age 17 at the time — left and returned when she realized she was missing her cellphone. She suspected the victim had taken it.
Shortly thereafter, she repeatedly punched the victim in the face and head and continued the beating even after the woman was bloodied and stopped moving.
“Hearing the family describe their loved one and the tremendous loss suffered at the hands of (the offender) was heartbreaking,” Tulloch stated in her Nov. 10 sentencing decision. “There is no doubt that this brutal and senseless act has changed their lives forever. It has interfered with their feelings of safety and their grief is a life sentence. It is never-ending and palpable even after waiting over four years to talk about the hole (the victim’s) death has left in their lives.”
The offender followed the beating by stealing items from the victim’s home and then took her vehicle, which she “ditched” on the road. She never sought medical help for the victim.
“This young person’s behaviour can only be described as shocking … serious bodily harm was easily foreseeable in these circumstances,” Tulloch stated. “The accused presented as callous and uncaring to the extreme.”
Initially charged with second-degree murder, the offender pleaded guilty to manslaughter a two years after the incident.
The maximum sentence, set by Parliament, that could be given under the Youth Criminal Justice Act for manslaughter is three years of combined custody and conditional community supervision from the date the crime was committed.
Tulloch noted that the victim’s death was “difficult to predict” and her high level of intoxication — five times the legal limit — was a contributing factor.
After serving 67 days in a young offender’s facility, the offender was released on bail to live with her parents in March 2020 while her court case was still in progress. She reportedly abided by all conditions placed on her.
Since the tragic incident, the offender says she quit consuming alcohol and drugs and has been “concentrating on making a good life for her daughter,” according to the court transcript.
A psychiatrist found that the offender, who didn’t have a prior criminal record, poses a low to moderate risk of reoffending and a high chance of rehabilitation.
The first six months of her sentence will be served in secure custody. That will be followed by supervision in the community. A year of probation will follow.
The Crown prosecutor sought 12 to 15 months of secure custody for the offender, then six months of supervision and 12 months of probation.
The defence lawyer recommended a custody and supervision order of 12 to 18 months with one day of open custody and the remainder under a conditional supervision order.
The offender’s home life was disrupted as a child when social services took her away at age 10 due to ongoing drinking and violence between her adoptive parents. She told a probation officer that she saw her father beat up her mother every five or six days.
The psychiatrist determined that the offender should participate in one-on-one counselling that focuses on community reintegration “in coming to terms with the guilt of the offence and to increase her interpersonal skills. This intervention should focus on relapse prevention which in the doctor’s opinion, could be achieved by a local community mental health service,” the sentencing decision reads.