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Judge reserves decision on man who attacked couple with bear spray

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A man who watched his girlfriend’s sister die after a stabbing last summer -- then hours later forced his way into a house and attacked the residents -- is facing a seven-year prison sentence.

Darrel Joseph Catcheway, 23, was convicted in Provincial Court for assaults with a weapon, theft under $5,000 and break-and-enter for the July 22, 2012 attack.

Crown prosecutor Shaun Sass told court that Catcheway had just broken into a truck and stolen the vehicle’s stereo when the truck's owners yelled at him. Catcheway forced his way into the couple’s home and chased them into their bedroom, then broke down the bedroom door.

Catcheway fired bear spray at the couple, who managed to escape by breaking a window and jumping out.

Sass said Catcheway has a lengthy record for break and enters and assaults and he should be given a seven-year prison sentence, adding the attack could also be considered a home invasion.  Based on Catcheway’s record, he said, the only time he hasn’t been a threat is when he’s behind bars.

Defence counsel Lori Van Dongen said Catcheway had been raised in an extremely violent home where alcohol and substance abuse were common and where he often had to live on the streets to escape beatings.

Van Dongen said Catcheway was so drunk that day that he had no memory of the attack. Catcheway’s only memory of that day was rushing to be with his girlfriend’s sister, who was stabbed to death on Furby Street earlier that morning, Van Dongen said.

Catcheway had been drinking before his girlfriend’s sister was attacked and he continued drinking afterwards. He woke up in police custody several hours later, Van Dongen said.

Van Dongen acknowledged that Catcheway had a lengthy criminal record but argued that a three-year sentence is more appropriate for the crime.

Provincial Court Judge Cynthia Devine reserved her decision on sentencing to August 14.

aldo.santin@freepress.mb.ca

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