St. John's man sentenced to 5.5 years following vicious assault of neighbour
A St. John's man convicted of a vicious assault last year was sentenced Tuesday to 5.5 years in prison.
In May 2016, police were called to a house near Ricketts Road in St. John's where they found a woman covered in blood.
Walter Howell, 43, initially told police he went into his neighbour's kitchen and discovered a man beating the woman with a stick. He said the man then jumped through a window.
But another neighbour — who went over after hearing the woman's screams — told police he broke down the door when he didn't get an answer. That's when he found Howell in the woman's kitchen.
During an interview with Howell, police pointed out that the window in question was too small to climb through and so high off the ground that, if someone did jump from it, they would have injured themselves.
Police also speculated that, if Howell's story was true, there would have been blood on the window sill.
The victim told police Howell came to her house to use the phone. She said she left him in the living room and then went into her kitchen.
She said she heard and felt a bang, and saw her blood splash across the cupboards.
The woman said she put her hands up to protect her face, but Howell continued striking her with a piece of wood. She said she then began screaming and slamming cupboard doors in an attempt to draw attention to the attack.
The woman's lungs were punctured in the attack from blows to her back, and she spent two weeks in hospital. Her scalp had to be stapled, as did wounds to her back.
Her finger was in a cast for a week after Howell almost tore it from her hand.
The woman said she didn't know why Howell, who she had known for some time, attacked her.
Howell had originally been charged with attempted murder for the assault, but then pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of aggravated assault.
Howell was given 17 months credit for time spent in custody since the attack.