Acadieville man who assaulted 2 nurses denies beatings were his fault

·3 min read

Randy Van Horlick, 70, expressed frustration and aggravation Monday at his sentencing hearing for assaulting two nurses in Moncton in 2019.

Van Horlick was charged with two counts of assault for beating up nurse manager Natasha Poirier and injuring nurse Teresa Thibeault when she tried to stop the attack on March of 2019.

He was found guilty in September.

Crown prosecutor Anne-Marie Maillet asked that Van Horlick serve three to six months in jail and two years on probation for the two assaults, which happened at the Dr. Georges-L. Dumont University Hospital Centre.

Tori Weldon/CBC
Tori Weldon/CBC

Maillet said the fact both women were assaulted on the job should be a factor in the sentence. There was a clear "hard financial, physical and emotional impact" on the women.

Maillet also asked that Van Horlick be ordered to pay restitution, citing loss of wages.

Poirier still hasn't returned to work after the assault that left her with a concussion, a broken nose and chronic pain. Thibeault was off work for six months.

Van Horlick's lawyer, Alex Pate, asked for a sentence that could be served in the community.

Pate said his client had no criminal record before the attacks, is almost 71 years old, and was under stress at the time because his wife was dying. Van Horlick's wife died in December 2019, after a decades-long illness.

Tori Weldon/CBC
Tori Weldon/CBC

But Judge Yvette Finn pointed to Van Horlick's testimony during the trial that indicated he had a "problem with the health care system for a long time."

Reading through the pre-sentence report, Finn noted Van Horlick said he is not willing to attend any program directed by the court, and he did not want to pay a fine or restitution.

"He's not the most sympathetic accused to ever walk into the court," Pate conceded.

Asked by Finn if he had anything to say, Van Horlick started by saying, "I did not set out to hurt anyone." He said he was sorry that Poirier got hurt.

"It just happened."

But the longer Van Horlick spoke the more agitated he became, until he said, 'If she'd done her job properly we wouldn't be here."

He said he was only defending his wife and their rights.

Shane Magee/CBC
Shane Magee/CBC

"All I wanted was help for my wife, and I didn't get any," said Van Horlick, who testified during the trial that he had no recollection of the assault.

"My concern," Finn told him, "is that you aren't taking responsibility for your actions."

"How can I be sorry for something I don't remember?" Van Horlick replied.

The judge reminded him that he was present for the trial, which went through what happened that day in detail.

"I don't believe it, but I heard it," Van Horlick said.

Finn said set the next sentencing date for Nov. 27.

Outside court, Poirier and Thibeault said they were disappointed with Van Horlick's behaviour.

"It was really hurtful," Thibeault said. "He did not acknowledge us as victims, but perpetrators."

Thibeault said she was sorry Van Horlick's wife died, and she acknowledged it would be a hard situation for anyone.

But she added, "I still can't believe that somebody can be so vicious, so cruel and still not see the impact it's had on our lives."

Poirier said she thought Van Horlick would take the opportunity in court to apologize.

"I had a small hope that it would come through, but it kind of went the opposite way," she said.

Thibeault said, "Unfortunately, we had to be escorted out by security because he was so angry."

Van Horlick declined to comment as he walked to the parking lot, followed by two sheriffs.