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Richard Beaulieu remembers nights when he stood over his son Nathaniel’s crib, happily wondering what kind of man he would grow up to be.
Nearly 40 years later, and almost two years after Nathaniel, allegedly high on meth, tried to kill Beaulieu and his wife, those dreams, and Beaulieu’s family, have been shattered.
"There can be no forgetting, and forgiving is something I cannot do," Beaulieu told a judge Thursday. "I feel Nathaniel was fully aware of what he was doing when he used meth. He knew what the outcome would be. I do not know when I will want to speak with Nathaniel."
Nathaniel Bunn, 38, has pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated assault in connection to an unprovoked Dec. 3, 2018 attack that put his parents in critical condition.
"The type of damage this has caused is unspeakable," said Crown attorney Shannon Benevides, who recommended provincial court Judge Dale Harvey sentence Bunn to 10 years in prison.
Court was told Bunn was living with his parents at their North End home at the time of the attack, despite a court order he have no contact with them. A week before the attack, he had been hospitalized for three days, suffering from a meth-induced psychosis.
An agreed statement of facts provided to court says Bunn’s parents were asleep in separate bedrooms when Bunn, "in an agitated state," walked into his father’s bedroom and demanded to know where his stepdaughter was.
"Mr. Beaulieu tried to tell the accused that she wasn’t there, but this enraged the accused even more," Benevides said.
Bunn tore the blankets from the bed, as if looking for his stepdaughter. He lunged at his father with a screwdriver, and threatened to kill him, Benevides said.
When Bunn’s mother, Shirley Beaulieu, tried to intervene, he punched her in the face. Shirley retrieved a golf club from another room, but Bunn quickly disarmed her and beat both his parents about the head and body with the club.
Bunn’s parents pleaded with him to stop, or he would kill them. "That is what I am trying to do," he said. "I am going to end your life right now. Can you feel it?"
The couple managed to push Bunn out of the room before Shirley, fearing for her life, jumped out of the second-storey window, shattering her pelvis when she landed on the deck below.
Bunn ran out of the house and continued his attack on his mother as Richard attempted to shield Shirley with his body. Bunn carried Shirley back into the house as Richard ran in his bare feet and pyjamas to his daughter’s house for help.
Police arrived at the Bunn home to find Shirley on the couch, covered in blood and crying in pain.
The couple was rushed to hospital and underwent emergency surgery. Shirley, who in addition to a shattered pelvis suffered two broken vertebrae and internal bleeding, spent two months in hospital, and had to learn to walk again. Richard, who was already nursing a broken arm prior to the attack, got six broken ribs, a broken nose and broken orbital and cheek bone.
Bunn, who did not appear to make eye contact with his parents in court, sobbed loudly as Shirley read from a victim impact statement.
"You didn’t only traumatize us; the whole family was traumatized by this," she said. "Now you have to face the consequences. I am hoping you take advantage of the programs they have (in jail)."
Defence lawyer Jeremy Kostiuk recommended Bunn be sentenced to two more years in custody and three years of probation, which would allow him to continue with treatment at Headingley Correctional Centre.
"There is no reason to believe that if he steers clear of drugs and alcohol that he will ever be back in court," Kostiuk said. "Right now, where he is seems to be working for him."
Kostiuk said it’s Bunn’s position he was not high on meth at the time of the attack, but was suffering a psychotic episode related to a brain injury he suffered as a teenager.
"There’s no doubt Mr. Bunn has not helped this with his years of crystal meth abuse," Kostiuk said.
Bunn’s sister Shannon Bunn shared news of the attack on Facebook the day it happened. Since then, the post has been shared more than 8,000 times, by people as far away as Germany and Australia.
"My parents love so much and wanted to help my brother, because that’s what loving parents do," she wrote. "But they never imagined he could turn on them, and never realized how dangerous meth is."
Harvey will sentence Bunn at a later date.
Someone once said a journalist is just a reporter in a good suit. Dean Pritchard doesn’t own a good suit. But he knows a good lawsuit.
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