Stabbing nets eight-year sentence

NANAIMO – Accused pleads guilty to lesser charge of aggravated assault.

A man arrested in 2014 for stabbing a 16-year-old girl has been sent to prison.

Arshil Azim Parekh, who was a 19-year-old culinary arts student at Vancouver Island University when the stabbing occurred May 6, 2014, was arrested for attempted murder, but received a sentence of eight years in prison less time served after pleading guilty to aggravated assault at his preliminary hearing at Nanaimo provincial court on Sept. 22.

Frank Dubenski, Crown counsel, said Parekh phoned his victim, who cannot be identified, to offer her some cake he’d made. She met him on the street outside her residence.

“After a few minutes of brief conversation, she wanted to go back into her residence and he asked her for a hug,” Dubenski said. “She agreed and as they went to embrace he immediately started to stab her with a knife that he’d brought to the scene.”

The victim was stabbed 23 times in her back, upper shoulder and wrist. Two stab wounds penetrated her right lung. Parekh fled when a neighbour who heard screams yelled from his home.

“She described the attack as if she was being hit in the back and then recalls starting to go cold as she was laying on the ground,” Dubenski said. “She called 911 from her own phone.”

Dubenski said the victim and Parekh were not romantically involved. In two separate psychiatric assessments for the Crown and defence, Parekh, who had no criminal record, said he did not want to kill his victim, but was depressed and wanted to harm himself.

Dubenski said Parekh wanted an earlier hearing, but Crown waited to review its psychiatric report before accepting the plea to aggravated assault.

David Milburn, Parekh’s defence attorney, said the defence psychiatric report indicated Parekh suffered from undiagnosed depression and cannabis abuse that “produced a disturbance of mind that resulted in these horrific actions.”

At the hearing Parekh apologized without reservation to his victim and her family and took full responsibility for his actions.

“He couldn’t be any more remorseful than he is, in my view,” Milburn said. “I’ve been practising law for a long time now and he expressed remorse from the moment I met him until the last time I saw him in court.”

Parekh, born in Nairobi, Kenya, is a Canadian citizen, but plans to return to Kenya after his prison term, Milburn said.

Parekh has five years, 11 months left to serve.