A man charged with aggravated assault in an April 2, 2019 stabbing in Sicamous was sentenced at the Salmon Arm Law Courts on Oct. 13, 2020. (File photo)

Man under meth psychosis who stabbed mother sentenced in Shuswap

Several people witnessed 2019 stabbing in Sicamous, man apologizes to mother in court

The sentencing of Thor Straume in Provincial Court in Salmon Arm included an apology in the courtroom to his stabbing victim – his mother.

Straume, 26, was in court Oct. 13 to be sentenced following his guilty plea to a charge of aggravated assault. A second charge of attempted murder was stayed by Crown counsel.

The incident in Sicamous, which several people witnessed, occurred on April 2, 2019. The court heard that Straume, with a history of mental illness, had been taking methamphetamine for three days beforehand and had not slept.

In a drug-induced psychosis, about 6 a.m. he mistakenly thought a ‘transvestite rapist pedophile’ had come into the house where he stayed with his mother and was going to rape and possibly kill them both.

The court heard that he fought the person with a meat cleaver and eight-inch knife, not aware he was attacking his mother, who he thought was sleeping.

Sicamous RCMP received multiple 911 calls about a woman being stabbed by a man. Straume, who some witnesses said they had heard yelling that he was raped as a child, was eventually subdued after multiple arrest attempts by police.

Read more: Man arrested after woman receives ‘life threatening’ injuries in Sicamous

Days before the incident, from March 23 to 27, 2019, Straume was taken to hospital under the Mental Health Act for psychosis and was then returned to his mother’s home after that.

The court heard that Straume’s mother had called Sicamous police on April 1 to help locate her son, which they did. While he appeared to be someone suffering from mental illness, police reported he was calm and did not appear to present a threat to himself or his mother. The court heard that she thanked police and took him home in her vehicle.

Referring to the attack, Crown counsel Alison Buchanan said Straume’s mother suffered significant injuries, the worst a deep laceration to her throat. It was initially suspected she might not live.

She has undergone surgery on her vocal chords but still experiences pain and might never regain her normal speech.

His mother wrote a letter to Crown counsel, stating it was not easy to write but she was doing it for the love of her son. She said he means the world to her and they have always had a close relationship. She said he has always been good and kind to her and this incident was the only time she did not know him. She said she didn’t think he should be charged as a criminal because it wouldn’t have happened without the narcotic-induced psychosis. She added that she wasn’t writing because he is her son, but because it’s true.

Straume’s mother and brother were in the courtroom during the sentencing.

Defence counsel Glenn Verdurmen said Straume’s father died when he was 11, and his education stopped about Grade 6. He had trouble dealing with the death, which led to the use of alcohol and drugs. He has used a number of drugs including heroin and cocaine, but it was methamphetamine prior to the attack. He is designated as a person with disabilities due to intellectual difficulties and a long history of mental illness.

Verdurmen said Straume has no criminal record and has held several jobs. He also has “sincere and great remorse” for the harm he’s caused his mother.

“If he can stay on the drugs he is supposed to and off the drugs he is not supposed to, he can be a safe and contributing member of society…,” remarked Verdurmen.

Read more: Penticton mass-murderer apologizes: ‘I tragically disrupted so many lives’

Read more: Walk the Wharf in Salmon Arm lights path to suicide prevention

Straume, with closely cropped dark hair and a goatee-like beard, wearing a dark red sweatshirt, was permitted to stand up in the prisoner’s box to apologize to his mother. He noted they hadn’t talked in about a year.

“I hope we can go back to where it was… I hope in time you will feel comfortable around me,” he told her. “You have my word, I won’t do it again.”

Crown and defence counsels presented a joint submission for sentencing.

Because Straume has been in jail since the incident, he was credited with 841 days of pre-sentence time. The jail term would have been 842 days, so he was sentenced to one more day.

He will also be on probation for 30 months, during which time he must meet 13 conditions. Among them, he must report to forensic psychiatric services for any treatment or counselling required. He must attend all sessions and take all medication. He can have no contact or communication with the victim without her prior consent. He cannot go within 15 metres of her residence.

He is also under a 10-year firearms prohibition and must provide a DNA sample.


marthawickett@saobserver.net
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

CourtSicamousstabbing

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Naramata Slow is almost at its goal of raising $850,000 to save Centre Beach from being sold.
Final push is on to save Naramata beach by Oct. 31 deadline

Village has already raised 90 per cent of the $850K goal

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media file)
Penticton RCMP cleared of wrongdoing after man seriously injured in custody

B.C.’s police watchdog found no evidence of harm caused by police in Sept. 21 incident

Apex Mountain Resort received 35 centimetres of fresh snow over the weekend, prompting some to head out for some early season turns. (Apex Mountain Resort / Facebook)
Stay off the mountain: Apex warns of early season dangers

Recreational use of the mountain before opening day comes with serious risks

The Penticton Indian Band is opposing any hunting of local big horn sheep which are an at-risk population. (submitted photo)
Penticton Indian Band oppose big horn sheep hunts

Local big horn sheep are an at-risk population

A house on Highway 3A caught fire Sunday evening, Oct. 25, 2020.
House fire on Highway 3A in Keremeos

Neighbours acted quickly to help save home

FILE – Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides the latest update on the COVID-19 pandemic in the province during a press conference in the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, October 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. shatters COVID-19 records with 817 weekend cases; masks now expected indoors

Three people have died over the past three reporting periods

The Stuart Park ice rink in January 2020. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Popular Kelowna outdoor ice rink will open amid COVID-19 pandemic

City council approved COVID-related changes to the Stuart Park ice rink’s operations

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Interior Health sees 31 new cases of COVID-19 over record-breaking weekend

Eighty-six cases remain active and one person is hospitalized with the virus

Salmon Arm RCMP responded to a seven-vehicle chain reaction collision early Monday morning, Oct. 26. (File photo)
One person injured in seven-vehicle chain-reaction collision in Salmon Arm

Snow packed to ice, speed contributing factors behind collisions

RCMP responded to a single-vehicle collision on Highway 1 east of Salmon Arm early Monday, Oct. 26, 2020. (File photo)
Salmon Arm man killed in collision on Highway 1

RCMP say slippery road conditions contributing factor behind collision

Jordan Naterer, 25, was last seen Saturday Oct. 10. He planned a hike in the Manning Park area, and has not been seen since. Photo Facebook.
Parents not giving up, after official search for Manning Park hiker suspended again

‘We are determined, but eventually the money is going to run out.’

RCMP have released more details regarding what led up to an arrest caught on video in Williams Lake Sunday, Oct. 26. (Facebook video screenshot)
Review launched after ‘high-risk, multi-jurisdictional’ chase, arrest in Williams Lake

RCMP launching a full review and code of conduct investigation

(Pxfuel)
B.C. limits events in private homes to household, plus ‘safe six’ amid COVID-19 surge

Henry issued a public health order limiting private gatherings to one household, plus a group of ‘safe six’ only

B.C. Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson speaks during a drive-in car rally campaign stop at a tour bus operator, in Delta, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Andrew Wilkinson stepping down as B.C. Liberal leader

Will stay on until the next party leader is chosen

Most Read