Attacker of South Surrey senior receives 13-year sentence

Langley man had pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and sexual assault

The man who pleaded guilty last week to sexually assaulting a 70-year-old South Surrey woman during a 2015 break-in at her Grandview-area home has received a 13-year sentence.

Stephen Thomas Morse, 43, of Langley, received the sentence suggested in a joint submission from Crown counsel and defense lawyers made Friday in Supreme Court in New Westminster.

It will means he will serve 10½ years in prison, allowing for time served.

Morse was arrested in September 2015 for the incident, which took place on Aug. 12 of that year. He was not previously known to police, and character witnesses said they were shocked to hear of his arrest.

While a 10-day trial had originally been scheduled for April 18, Morse pleaded guilty on April 13 to sexual assault, aggravated assault, break-and-enter, unlawful confinement, robbery and disguise-with-intent.

Details of the early-afternoon incident were made public at Friday’s sentencing hearing.

Morse, armed with a knife, was wearing a disguise that included a wig and was posing as gas company worker, the court heard. After breaking in to the victim’s home he bound her around the wrist and face, demanding cash, her PIN code and the access code to a gun safe in the home.

The victim was punched, had some of her clothing removed and was posed in “sexually compromising positions” while Morse ransacked the house.

After he left with her PIN code and items of jewelry, including her wedding ring, the victim managed to free herself and ran to a neighbour’s house to telephone police.

In addition to receiving non-life-threatening injuries, she had been traumatized by the incident, the court heard.

In a statement read in court the victim said her life had been changed. “I still do not feel safe in my house,” she said.

Her husband told the court that, two years later, she still has nightmares about the crime.

– with files from CTV