Toronto woman found guilty of terror charges in Canadian Tire attack

The woman was sentenced to seven years in prison for attacking workers at a Canadian Tire store

A woman convicted of terror charges for attacking workers at a Canadian Tire store in Toronto was sentenced to seven years in prison on Thursday after a judge found her mental illness played a key role in her crimes.

Rehab Dughmosh, 34, was found guilty of four terrorism charges for attacking store workers with a golf club and a butcher’s knife while draped in an ISIL banner in June 2017 and for trying to travel to Syria join the terrorist organization the year before.

Justice Maureen Forestell said Dughmosh’s mental illness, likely schizophrenia, played a central role in her crimes and “rendered her vulnerable to extremist beliefs.”

“I wish to make it quite clear that the sentence that I am imposing is significantly less than would be imposed on an offender who did not have a major mental illness,” she said.

The judge also made a point to note the “unusual” nature of the case.

Dughmosh represented herself and did not enter a plea, so the court recorded a not-guilty plea on her behalf. She also did not weigh in on jury selection for her case.

During her trial, Dughmosh admitted all the facts alleged by the Crown. That agreed statement of facts was the only evidence proffered to jurors, who swiftly found the woman guilty.

READ MORE: Ten-year-old girl, 18-year-old woman killed in Toronto shooting

Court heard that Dughmosh flew to Turkey in April 2016 with the intention of crossing over into Syria, where she was born and raised, to join ISIL. Her brother alerted authorities and Turkish officials did not allow her to enter the country, forcing her to return to Toronto, according to the agreed statement of facts.

She told the RCMP at that point she was only trying to visit family and the investigation was closed. Court heard that in fact, Dughmosh had been planning at attack for months.

On June 3, 2017, she attacked people at a Canadian Tire store in the city’s east end, clad in a homemade ISIL banner and bandana. She swung a golf club at an employee, which was then taken from her. Then she swung a knife at another employee, but was quickly disarmed and restrained by the store’s employees. One man suffered some bruising, but no one was seriously injured.

“She told employees that she was from ISIS and that she wanted revenge for Muslims,” the judge told court.

Dughmosh told police she had purchased a bow and arrows and had practice shooting. She also made other weapons, but her ex-husband took them from her, court heard. Police also found several Islamic State propaganda videos on her phone.

Dughmosh had married her husband in Syria and the couple moved to Canada in 2009 and later had two children, court heard.

She began to explore extremist groups and political beliefs in 2013, stopped going to the mosque and began wearing a niqab. She went out less with her family, court heard.

By 2015, family members said she began feeling unsafe and paranoid. She began to cover openings in their apartment, including telephone jacks and light fixtures.

A doctor diagnosed her with a major mental illness that was likely schizophrenia, but could be an unspecified anxiety disorder. The doctor said her extremist beliefs provided “a more stable sense of self at a time when self-concept and personality are undergoing significant changes.”

“She experienced hallucinations and delusions and expressed an intention to kill all non-Muslims and Muslims who side with non-Muslims,” Forestell said.

Dughmosh refused treatment while in custody until a little more than a year ago, court heard. She was in partial remission a few months later and has been compliant and improving since.

READ MORE: Kamloops teens charged with plotting to attack school

Yet she still endorses pro-Islamic State sentiments, although less intense and without violent ideation, court heard.

“That continued support for ISIS, even though it is related to her illness, may make Ms. Dughmosh dangerous to the public,” the judge said.

With credit given for time already served in jail, Dughmosh has about 4.5 years left of her sentence.

The court ordered her Islamic State items and propaganda videos on her cell phone destroyed.

Dughmosh said little during her sentencing but spoke up to ask the judge not to destroy the photographs of her children on her phone — a request Forestell agreed to.

Liam Casey , The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Dallas Smith, Terri Clark to perform on CP Holiday Train’s Shuswap stops

Annual festive food bank fundraiser rolling into region on Dec. 14

Salmon Arm farmer’s market moved indoors

The last market will take place Dec. 7

Interior Health issues warning about opioid-laced stimulants causing recent overdoses

Interior Health is urging residents using or considering using drugs to reconsider… Continue reading

Salmon Arm RCMP say budget cuts won’t impact service

Police force, facing $10.7-million budget shortfall, says it won’t compromise public safety

Salmon Arm boxer hopes to fund Olympic dream

Supporters show they’re in Jordyn Konrad’s corner

VIDEO: B.C. couple creates three-storey ‘doggie mansion’ for their five pups

Group of seven, who Kylee Ryan has dubbed as the ‘wandering paws,’ have a neat setup in Jade City

MacKinnon powers Avs to 5-4 OT win over Canucks

Vancouver battled back late to pick up single point

Port Alberni mom takes school district to court over Indigenous smudging, prayer in class

Candice Servatius, who is an evangelical Christian, is suing School District 70

Family of B.C. man killed in hit-and-run plead for tips, one year later

Cameron Kerr’s family says the driver and passengers tried to cover their tracks

Chilliwack family’s dog missing after using online pet-sitting service

Frankie the pit bull bolted and hit by a car shortly after drop off through Rover.com

B.C. wildlife experts urge hunters to switch ammo to stop lead poisoning in birds

OWL, in Delta, is currently treating two eagles for lead poisoning

B.C. First Nations drop out of court challenge, sign deals with Trans Mountain

Upper Nicola Band says deal represents a ‘significant step forward’

Okanagan philanthropists treated to moving speech on National Philanthropy Day

David Roche shared his message to the Association of Fundraising Professionals and non-profits

Most Read