January 16th, 2021

Man sentenced to house arrest for assault with a weapon

By Shurtz, Delon on September 24, 2020.

Delon Shurtz

lethbridge herald


A Pincher Creek man who twice assaulted his common-law spouse, once with a Samurai sword, is allowed to serve a custodial sentence in his home.

Michael Patterson was placed on house arrest for six months after he pleaded guilty Monday in Lethbridge provincial court to two counts of assault with a weapon.

The charges stem from two incidents in 2019 when the couple and their two young children lived in northern Alberta. Court was told the 32-year-old man and his spouse were arguing in the car when he threw her purse out the window. She managed to retrieve it, but when the family returned home he pinned her to the bed and held a sword to her neck.

On another occasion he took several swipes at her with a knife, narrowly missing her, but puncturing several holes in their couch.

“The look on his face was terrifying,” the woman said in a lengthy victim impact statement, which the judge read in court.

The woman said she felt trapped and described a relationship straight out of a horror movie in which Patterson controlled every aspect of her life. He choked her, tried to stab her with a steak knife, pulled her down the stairs, threatened to drown her and rape her, stole her car, destroyed her belongings, drained her savings account, and even took money from his children to buy video games.

“He’s taken money out of my kids’ piggy bank,” she wrote.

She was allowed to shop for groceries once a month with whatever money he hadn’t taken, but there was usually only enough to buy basic staples, such as rice, noodles and bread. Vegetables and fruit were a rare luxury. Patterson rarely worked, and often lied to his boss to avoid working, and he wouldn’t let her work because he did not trust her.

The woman said she had given Patterson “chance after chance” to change, and sometimes he would apologize, but then he would snap and do it all again. He threatened to beat his children, as well as the woman’s parents and grandparents, and burn down their homes.

The family lived in the Peace River area at the time of the assaults, but later moved to Pincher Creek where Patterson pleaded guilty to similar offences. The couple separated after that, but the woman still lives in fear.

“I will feel scared for me and my family for the rest of our lives.”

Judge John Maher read the woman’s entire victim impact statement even though, he pointed out, it contains allegations that have not been proven in court and are not relevant to the charges to which Patterson pleaded guilty Monday.

Lethbridge lawyer Claudia Connolly explained Patterson was unknowingly suffering from depression and other mental health issues, and was finally admitted to the psychiatric unit at the Chinook Regional Hospital in Lethbridge for treatment.

“I’m very sorry for all that stuff,” Patterson responded, when asked by the judge if he wanted to say anything before he was sentenced.

As part of his six-month conditional sentence, Patterson must behave himself, remain in Alberta, and avoid contact with his former common-law spouse and children unless allowed by the court. He is prohibited from possessing weapons, and he must submit a sample of his DNA for the National DNA Databank.

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