A B.C. man has been sentenced to a total of 5.5 years in jail after a three vicious assaults on his mother.
The last, for which Matthew Wilson, 41, pleaded guilty to a single count of aggravated assault against Sherrie Martin-Wilson, involved an unprovoked attack with a hammer leaving her with multiple injuries and trapped in a bathroom before managing to escape.
He is 6’2” weighing 270 lbs. His mother is 65, much smaller and more slight.
“In physical terms, when it comes to her son’s violent inclinations towards her, the complainant is completely vulnerable and defenceless,” B.C. Supreme Court Justice Robin Baird said in a June 5 decision posted on the court website June 19.
The first assault was in September 2006. Wilson was living with his mother after being in a group home.
Martin-Wilson was awakened by her son asking for a cigarette.
He punched her and she dropped to the floor. He hit her again in the side of the head and carried on punching her 10-12 times while she was on the ground.
An assault charged was laid but Crown and defense agreed on a verdict of not criminally responsible by reason of mental disorder.
The court heard Wilson’s head injury caused him to react disproportionately to perceived slights and insults and to fly into uncontrollable rages.
After about a year and a half in a secure hospital setting as a result of this verdict, Wilson received an absolute discharge.
Baird said Martin-Wilson continued to advocate for her son, allowing him to live with her when nothing else was available.
The second assault took place in May 2009 when the two were at home in Surrey.
Martin-Wilson was having a nap on her bed when Wilson lay down beside her. Without warning, he attacked her with a knife. They struggled and eventually the knife blade somehow broke away from the handle and she managed to escape.
Wilson pleaded guilty to assault with a weapon and remained in jail for 229 days, after which he plead guilty to a single count of assault with a weapon. He was credited at a 2:1 ratio for his pretrial custody, or 458 days and received one further day as well as three years’ probation.
In February 2018 the offender was again living with his mother, this time in an apartment in Campbell River, while on hiatus from a group home.
Martin-Wilson was on a computer looking for sources of assistance for her son. He entered and sat on her bed. He said, “thank you for letting me live with you mom, I love you” and left the room.
Soon after, her returned with a hammer and struck her on the head, knocking her to the floor.
“He showered her with blows, striking her in the hands, arms and leg as she tried to cover herself,” Baird said.
She called out to him, “Matty, it’s Mom, it’s Mom,” telling him he was hurting her very badly.
He responded, “I know who you are. Payback’s a bitch. I’m going to put you out of your misery”.
He continued to hit her with the hammer. He told her that today was the day she was going to die.
She was wounded and bleeding heavily and knew her hands and right arm were broken. Blood was spattered on the bedroom floor and the wall. She begged her child to stop. He refused.
She managed to lock herself in a bathroom.
Occasionally, Wilson returned to the bathroom door hitting it with his fist or the hammer and saying things like “Why don’t you just let me in”, and “Why don’t you just get this over with.”
“I have been shown pictures of the bathroom in question taken after the fact. There is blood everywhere. The gore is shocking,” Baird said. “Here and there the drywall is damaged from the complainant kicking and thrashing against it in hopes of making enough noise to attract the attention of her neighbours.”
Baird called the scene a “ghastly campaign of violence.”
Hearing neighbours in the hall, Martin-Wilson began screaming whereupon Wilson broke down the door. Seeing a chance, she escaped to a neighbour’s and called police.
Wilson “was found a short time later sitting in a nearby restaurant covered from head to foot in his mother’s blood,” Baird said.
Both Martin-Wilson’s arms were broken in multiple places, she has serious and permanent nerve and tendon damage and suffered soft tissue injuries to her biceps, triceps and forearm, approximately 20 contusions and lacerations to her scalp, many of which required stitches, and a scar and persistent pain from a cut to her left leg below the knee.
She was hospitalised for five weeks and continues to experience fear, paranoia, flashbacks and night terrors.
“She has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. She lives in mortal fear of the offender,” Baird said. “She is worried that he will track her down and kill her.”
The court heard Wilson had early emotional and behavioural problems, and was expelled from school for antisocial conduct including violence.
The court heard Wilson became involved in organised crime as a teen, dealing drugs and pimping. In 2001, he was violently attacked and left for dead by members of his own gang. He was left with a serious traumatic brain injury causing significant and permanent cognitive deficits.
The maximum sentence is 14 years.
Wilson had been in custody without seeking bail since February 2018.
Wilson sought release on probation after pre-trial custody without bail. The Crown argued for a further 2.5-4.5 years after credit for pre-trial custody.
Baird imposed a further two years and one day.
It remains unknown what might happen to Wilson on release.
“His mother has told me in clear and unambiguous terms, albeit to her profound and enduring regret, that she is terrified of her son and can have nothing further to do with him,” Baird said.