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B.C. man pleads guilty in park stabbing, police assault

Three victims suffered serious injuries, including stab wounds and punctured organs, from a violent spree in Vancouver's Crab Park.
Police and City of Vancouver staff parked nearby Crab Park where stabbings took place in October 2022.

The man accused of a stabbing spree in Vancouver’s Crab Park on Oct. 8, 2022 has pleaded guilty to aggravated assault of a man and to an earlier assault of a police officer with a weapon.

Denis Carlin Sleightholme, 43, had already been convicted in one person’s death.

He had been charged with possession of a sword, assaulting a police officer with a weapon and breaching a release order by having a weapon in connection with July 7, 2022 events.

He was released on bail conditions July 26, 2022.

Then, in connection with the October events, Sleightholme was charged with two counts of aggravated assault and carrying a knife for a dangerous purpose.

He was charged on Oct. 11, 2022 in connection with those events. He pleaded guilty on March 11 before Judge Kathryn Denhoff.

Reports not ready

Defence lawyer Talia Armstrong told Judge Harbans Dhillon a psychiatric assessment for Sleightholme had not been received.

Armstrong said one had been done earlier but as Sleightholme was not available for the report writer, the report had been based on earlier ones from 2010 and 2013.

Crown prosecutor Jacinta Lawton suggested an addendum be added to that report with Sleightholme’s cooperation.

Dhillon said a full report would be required given the circumstances.

Sleightholme, clean-shaven and clad in a white shirt and blazer, watched quietly from the prisoner’s dock.

The court is still awaiting a pre-sentencing report.

What happened at Crab Park?

The Vancouver Police Department said officers were patrolling near the waterfront around 3 a.m. when two victims fled the park and approached police for help. A 911 call came about the same time reporting a man stabbing random people at a homeless encampment. 

Three victims suffered serious injuries, including stab wounds and punctured organs. Police said at the time there could be other victims.

The latest allegations are part of a long list of brushes with the law, the most grave being the death of Dominic Boateng.

Sleightholme was convicted in that August 2015 death after a stabbing outside the Insite supervised injection facility on East Hastings. It was video evidence that helped to secure a verdict of murder rather than manslaughter. Sleightholme was sentenced to four years.

He was also facing two charges of uttering threats and harassment of family members in connection with September 2021 incidents in Port Coquitlam. 

The slowness of the system producing psychiatric and pre-sentencing reports as well as the overall impacts of mental health problems on the court system was examined in a Glacier Media special report series earlier this year.