The Crown is seeking a 10-year prison sentence for a Langley man who committed a â€œcallous and unprovokedâ€ attack on his family and burned down their house.
â€œNothing can describe the horror they went through that night,â€ said Crown prosecutor Mike Fortino during a sentencing hearing in provincial court in Surrey on Thursday.
In December, Andre Harvey Richard, 45, pleaded guilty to break and enter, arson of an occupied property and two counts of aggravated assault. He was initially facing a total of 13 charges.
In February 2014, Richard was arrested for allegedly assaulting his sevenyear-old son. As a result, he was placed on bail with a number of conditions, including that he stay away from his wife S, stepdaughter G and son J. The couple had what the Crown described as a â€œtumultuousâ€ relationship. There was physical and psychological abuse, and the Ministry of Children and Family Development was involved because of concerns about the childrenâ€™s safety.
Richard was not coping with being away from his family, and when he was served with divorce papers on April 1 he was devastated.
Shortly before 1 a.m. on April 2, Richard broke into the home where his wife and children were sleeping. He went to Sâ€™s room and yelled at her, then attacked her with his fists, a rubber mallet and drywall saw.
Thirteen-year-old G heard screaming and went to see what was happening. She yelled at Richard to stop and tried to intervene, but he punched her inthe shoulder, cut her with the saw and hit her with the mallet. G got away and summoned help by hitting the panic button on the alarm system.
Abruptly, the attack stopped and Richard fled. Before leaving, he poured an accelerant in the living room near the sliding glass door and lit it on fire. S and her children fled the burning house and sought help from a neighbour.
S suffered numerous injuries and was in hospital for two days. G was treated and released from hospital the same day. J was not injured.
Their home was destroyed and all of their belongings lost.
Defence lawyer Scott Wright said he believes Richard is extremely remorseful for the crimes. Wright suggested that a five- to six-year sentence would be more appropriate.
– Jennifer Saltman is a reporter for the Vancouver Province