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 Salmon Arm

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

A new public space build on a sediment deposit in the Sicamous Narrows is a possible part of a flood mitigation barrier outlined in a recent report given to Sicamous’ council. (Kerr Wood Leidal Image)
Sicamous flood protection plan, public walkway come with hefty price tag

New barrier against higher seasonal lake levels called a proactive approach by mayor

Movie crews filmed a holiday parade in Summerland in July. The parade, filmed on Main Street in Summerland, is for the movie, The Christmas Yule Blog. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: Test your knowledge of holiday movies and television specials

The festive season is a time for relaxing and enjoying some seasonal favourites

The Armstrong Green Space Society is calling for the preservation of the Royal York Golf Course, which may be in jeopardy pending an application to use the land for a major housing development. (File photo)
Armstrong group calls on council to spare local golf course from housing development

The Armstrong Green Space Society was formed in 2019 after word of the development surfaced

Vicki Proulx, executive director of the Vernon Winter Carnival Society, stands beneath a lights display the society lit up in Spirit Square Nov. 27, by way of announcing it will be taking over the 2021 downtown light-up event. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
Vernon Winter Carnival Society lights up downtown square

The society announced it will be taking over next year’s downtown light-up event

Parents are urged to be on alert after a potential child abduction attempt took place near Armstrong Elementary School Friday, Nov. 27, 2020. (amsas/neden photo)
Possible child abduction attempt at Armstrong Elementary School prompts warning

A letter from the school’s principal urges parents to be on high alert

(Dave Landine/Facebook)
VIDEO: Dashcam captures head-on crash between snowplow and truck on northern B.C. highway

Driver posted to social media that he walked away largely unscathed

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

(Randy Mills/@poohbah431111 - Twitter)
Motorcyclist rushed to Kelowna General Hospital after collision

The collision occurred around 7:15 p.m. at the intersection of Highway 33 and Gerstmar Road

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Top doctor urges Canadians to limit gatherings as ‘deeply concerning’ outbreaks continue

Canada’s active cases currently stand at 63,835, compared to 53,907 a week prior

A Canadian Pacific freight train travels around Morant’s Curve near Lake Louise, Alta., on Monday, Dec. 1, 2014. A study looking at 646 wildlife deaths along the railway tracks in Banff and Yoho national parks in Alberta and British Columbia has found that train speed is one of the biggest factors. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Study finds train speed a top factor in wildlife deaths in Banff, Yoho national parks

Research concludes effective mitigation could address train speed and ability of wildlife to see trains

A airport worker is pictured at Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C. Wednesday, March 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canada extends COVID restrictions for non-U.S. travellers until Jan. 21 amid second wave

This ban is separate from the one restricting non-essential U.S. travel

Former Vancouver Canucks goaltender Richard Brodeur discussing his paintings with the executive director of the Arts Council of the Central Okanagan Kirsteen McCulloch. (Contributed)
Former Canucks goalie King Richard’s art displayed at Kelowna gallery

Richard Brodeur starred in the Vancouver Canucks’ 1982 Stanley Cup run

Menno Place. (Google Street View image.)
B.C. care home looks to hire residents’ family members amid COVID-19-related staff shortage

Family would get paid as temporary workers, while having chance to see loved ones while wearing PPE

A confirmed case of COVID-19 at Vernon’s Silver Star Elementary School has been reported. (Google Maps)
COVID case confirmed at Okanagan elementary school

Member of Silver Star Elementary community in Vernon self-isolating at home; parents alerted Nov. 28

Most Read