Senior to armed robber: 'I forgive you'

When Bernice Wilson walked into the living room of her Quispamsis home, Michael Dakin Ingersoll popped up from behind her piano wearing a black balaclava.

“Don’t worry, I won’t hurt you,” he told the 74-year-old woman.

Wilson discovered Ingersoll in her home at about 8:30 a.m. on Sept. 1, after he'd broken in the night before, court heard.

Ingersoll, 33, held his head in his hands as Crown prosecutor Chris Ryan read the facts of the case to the court on Wednesday afternoon.

Court heard that Ingersoll ordered Wilson to sit on her couch, throwing blankets over her head to obstruct her vision. Wilson offered Ingersoll breakfast, which he declined, though he did accept a cup of coffee, court heard.

Ryan said Ingersoll then duct-taped her to a chair and taped her mouth, keeping her head covered with blankets. He told her he was armed with a .22-calibre Smith and Wesson revolver.

Ingersoll stole Wilson’s purse, chequebook and credit cards, attempting to cash a fraudulent cheque and making numerous purchases and ATM withdrawals over the next five days, before he was arrested in east Saint John on Sept. 6, court heard.

When he was arrested, Saint John police found numerous loaded firearms in his vehicle, according to a police report.

In her victim impact statement, Wilson addressed Ingersoll directly, saying she’s been praying for him.

“I see you each time I enter my TV room, remembering how you startled me,” she said.

But, she added, “I forgive you in my heart, and I pray for your protection in jail.”

She added he was “considerate of her comfort” while she was confined, though she acknowledged he was planning to rob her of “things that are irreplaceable in sentiment and value.

“I told you at the time Jesus loves you, in spite of what you’re doing,” she told him.

“Thank you, Miss Wilson,” Ingersoll replied.

Judge Claude Hache said he’d been a judge for nearly 20 years and had never seen such a “forgiving” victim impact statement.

Ingersoll pleaded guilty to more than a dozen criminal charges, including armed robbery, confinement, stealing a weapon, and numerous firearms-related offenses, as well as attempting to cash a forged cheque, and stealing approximately $2,000 via Wilson’s stolen credit cards and ATM withdrawals.

He also pleaded guilty to three counts relating to an armed break and enter of a camp in Digdeguash, where he stayed for several days following the Quispamsis armed break-in.

Ingersoll had received a mental health assessment after he said he believed to be dying of cancer, despite a lack of evidence he’d been diagnosed. He ultimately chose not to proceed with using the defence of being not criminally responsible, though, and entered guilty pleas.

Ingersoll’s lawyer, Shanna Wicks, noted his mother, grandmother and aunt were present in the courtroom and were supporting him. Ingersoll blew a kiss to his family before returning to custody at the Saint John Regional Correctional Centre.

Ingersoll is scheduled to return to court on March 16 for sentencing.

-- With files from Andrew Bates

Marlo Glass, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Telegraph-Journal