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B.C. man ‘possessed by demon’ sentenced for stabbing seniors

Anthony Rouskov Nielsen will serve concurrent 5 1/2-year sentences for hallucination-fuelled attacks

A man who stabbed two seniors and struck one of them with a bat in the midst of drug-induced hallucinations was sentenced to a pair of five-year prison sentences.

Anthony Rouskov Nielsen, 21, previously pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated assault in relation to a December 2021 incident in which a man and woman were stabbed numerous times and the woman hit with a bat in their Nanaimo home. Both were hospitalized and suffered life-altering injuries.

Sentencing, which began Dec. 7, concluded Wednesday, Dec. 20, in provincial court in Nanaimo with judge Tamara Hodge sentencing Nielsen to concurrent five-and-a-half-year sentences for the charges. With credit for time served, Nielsen has more than two and a half years remaining in his sentence.

Jill Vivian, Crown counsel, sought a federal sentence of seven years per charge, to be served concurrently, while Roberto Alberto, defence counsel, sought time served and three years’ probation.

According to an agreed statement of facts, Nielsen and the couple had been neighbours when he was a teenager and he had lived with them from November 2020 until February 2021, when he was asked to leave.

Nielsen was living in supportive housing at the time of the assault and hadn’t been taking medication the two weeks previous. After initially asking a taxi driver to take him to the victims’ residence, he twice changed his mind before being dropped off nearby. He also gave a false name.

It is not known how Nielsen entered the home, but according to the statement, he stabbed the woman repeatedly and hit her with a baseball bat while she was on the floor. While attempting to help his wife, the man, who had mobility issues, was pushed down a flight of stairs and was stabbed numerous times. Nielsen was arrested shortly after.

While being interrogated, he was heard muttering references to demons and stating the man was not dead yet.

Among the woman’s injuries were stab wounds, bleeding around her brain and facial paralysis, which will require further surgery. The man suffered stab wounds and a laceration to his larynx, which has affected his voice.

In victim impact statements, they noted they no longer have peace of mind and feel like prisoners in their own home due to added security.

Nielsen did not have a previous criminal record, but has a long history of drug use and Hodge said that at the time of the offences, he had been using cannabis, cocaine and alcohol and was suffering from symptoms of psychosis.

In his submission, Alberto stated his client thought that the man had a powerful ring, and his client felt possessed by a demon who instructed him to destroy the ring to prevent the end of the world.

Hodge took into consideration Nielsen’s Indigenous heritage, cognitive impairment and found that time served with probation wasn’t adequate, while seven years’ incarceration was too harsh.

Vivian did not wish to comment and Alberto said he respected the judge’s decision.

“All I can tell you is that it’s an incredibly difficult situation for both sides,” Alberto told the News Bulletin after sentencing. “In situations like this, it’s incredibly difficult for the court to come to a decision. She considered everything and we respect the decision.”

RELATED: Sentencing starts for man who stabbed man in throat, hit woman with bat

Karl Yu

About the Author: Karl Yu

I joined Black Press in 2010 and cover education, court and RDN. I am a Ma Murray and CCNA award winner.
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