2 charged in 2017 machete attack at B.C. woman's home that left her with 'life-altering' injuries

Nermeen Alireza suffered injuries to her hand and arm after a stranger broke into her Oak Bay, B.C., home in April 2017. (Liz McArthur/CBC - image credit)
Nermeen Alireza suffered injuries to her hand and arm after a stranger broke into her Oak Bay, B.C., home in April 2017. (Liz McArthur/CBC - image credit)

Nearly six years after a Vancouver Island woman was attacked inside her home by an unknown man with a machete, two people have been charged.

Nermeen Alireza was alone inside her house in the 2500-block of Esplanade Road in Oak Bay, B.C., on the morning of April 25, 2017, when a stranger broke in and slashed at her arm and hand, leaving her with "significant life-altering injuries," according to a police press release.

The man fled before police arrived.

According to the Saanich Police Department, 30-year-old Kaspar Handspiker was identified as the suspect after a long and complex investigation, and he was arrested on Sunday in the Maple Ridge, B.C., area. He now faces charges of aggravated assault, break and enter, and robbery.

A second man, 52-year-old Christopher Standell, is charged with being an accessory after the fact.

Alireza expressed gratitude for investigators in a written statement.

"My family and I are relieved to hear of the arrests, thanks to the tireless efforts of the Saanich and Oak Bay police," she said.

Handspiker remains in custody and is scheduled to make his next court appearance on Jan. 23. Standell has been ordered to stand trial in B.C. Supreme Court.

"This high-profile vicious attack had a significant impact in our community," Oak Bay Chief Const. Mark Fisher said in the release.

"Supporting this investigation has been a priority for our department and I hope that these charges bring some level of comfort to the victim and those impacted by this crime."