Mom of baby knifed by father 'crippled with anguish'
By Daryl Slade, Calgary Herald
The mother of an 11-month-old boy who was slashed with a large kitchen knife and nearly killed by his father in a jealous rage last year still cannot understand why he would commit such a heinous act.
She said in her victim impact statement at the father's sentencing hearing on Friday that what happened to her son early on the morning of Aug. 13, while she was out with a female friend and left the boy in his father's care, "I would not wish on my worst enemy."
"The reality that my son was hurt by his own father has at times left me crippled with anguish," the sobbing mother said. "His needless suffering at such a young age has kept me awake on several nights.
"I remember the joy you felt when you first found out you were going to be a father, and the love you showed towards your son, and it's impossible for me to understand what could have possibly replaced that in the moment you decided to hurt him."
The father, who cannot be named, to protect the identity of the victim and his mother, was initially charged with attempted murder. But he pleaded guilty recently through defence lawyer Alain Hepner to aggravated assault.
Crown prosecutor Margot Engley told provincial court Judge Mike Din-kel she will seek a prison sentence of six to seven years. Hepner intends to argue for a sentence of less than two years, minus the eight months his client has served since his arrest that morning.
In a series of phone calls the father, who was consuming alcohol and had become increasingly angry, accused the woman, with whom he had a 31/2-year relationship, of cheating on him.
He also threatened he would hurt the boy and hurt himself if she didn't return immediately but, despite being scared and telling him not to talk like that, she did not take those threats seriously, according to an agreed statement of facts read into court by Engley.
The couple had lived together at her mother's home in southeast Calgary, but broke up after a violent incident last June. He was still staying at the home three or four nights a week and helping raise the boy.
The mother had begun a new relationship, but the father continued to hope they would reconcile.
Between calls to the mother that fateful morning, the father grabbed a large kitchen knife and slashed the baby, first in the abdomen for a 20-centimetre gash, then a 15-centi-metre slash to the neck, extending from the front of his throat to behind his head.
Engley said in reading the agreed facts that the neck wounds were deep and bled profusely.
"The cuts missed major blood vessels in his neck by one centimetre," she told the judge.
"Had any of (the baby's) major blood vessels been cut, (he) would have died on the kitchen floor. (The father) left (the baby) on the kitchen floor, bleeding out. (He) walked through the growing pool of blood around (the baby), leaving bloody footprints on the floor."
The father continued his rage when he called 911 about 4 a.m., asking police to come to his home to get the baby and to shoot him.
After he told the operator in the 911 call how old his baby was, he said: "I don't want to live with him. We want to die together."
He then apologizes to his son, saying, "Sorry . . . I love you so much but your mommy (mess) around with me. I hit you. I'm sorry. I no going to be alive anyway . . . please take my baby and shoot me. Come, please."
When the officers arrived, they met the accused standing at the doorway of the home holding a knife and continuing to prod them to kill him.
Finally, he put the knife down as one of the officers was pulling the trigger on his gun.
The mother, who was unable to get a ride home that night and stayed at a hotel, said in her victim statement that she still regrets she was not there to help her son, who lost about one-quarter of his blood and required a two-hour surgery and blood transfusion to repair the damage.
She asks herself what she could have done to avoid "this terrible disaster."
"It pains me that as his own mother I was not the one who lifted him off the floor, or the ones who cradled his little body in the ambulance," she said. "Today, I look in his eyes, so full of hope and wonderment, and I cannot equate that he was once a hair's length from slipping away from me.
"No child should ever have to experience the fear and confusion of being hurt by someone you love like my baby did. No child should have to almost lose their life, and not only have the only mother they have ever known to comfort them and protect them through the worst moment of their life."
The baby spent more than three days in hospital and, aside from scar-ring, no long-term effects of the ordeal were anticipated, court heard.
Sentencing arguments will continue on May 11.