North Vancouver man jailed for ‘brutal’ attack on wife

‘There is nowhere I feel safe,’ assault victim tells court

A North Vancouver woman whose estranged husband was jailed this week for brutally beating her inside their home told a judge this week the attack has left her devastated and fearing for her safety.

“I am afraid he will attack me again . . . I think I see him or his car and I panic,” said Denise Knowles in a victim impact statement to the court, describing the lasting impact of the assault that resulted in a two-year jail sentence Wednesday for Jeffrey Parker, 59.

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“There is nowhere I feel safe.”

Parker was sentenced after pleading guilty in August to aggravated assault of his wife in the early morning hours of May 23, 2019 in their apartment.

Judge Joanne Challenger described the assault of Knowles, 60, as a “vicious attack.”

The judge noted Knowles was a widow of “independent financial means” when the couple met online five years ago. At first, Parker “pretended to be employed” by getting up and leaving every morning as though he was going to work, said Challenger, setting a pattern of “deceit and manipulation.” Knowles described later attempts by Parker to control and socially isolate her, said the judge.

Police were called to the couple’s home on one previous occasion, but when officers arrived, both said Knowles had simply fallen down.

On the night of May 22, Knowles was preparing to go to bed after an evening at home with Parker and went into the kitchen to get some ice, said Challenger. That was when Parker “took issue with what she was doing ... and attacked her. It was a vicious attack.”

Parker punched his wife in the face and threw her to the ground and “he put his hands around her neck and began kicking her in the body and head,” before eventually phoning for an ambulance, said the judge, telling 911 operators that she had slipped. Ambulance attendants called police

Knowles suffered serious injuries including lacerations to her spleen, six broken ribs, and a punctured lung and extensive bruising to face neck arms, said the judge.

She was in the trauma ward of the hospital for three weeks and spent a further month in respite care, unable to care for herself.

The victim still struggles with dental and hip injuries that resulted from the attack, said Challenger, noting her psychological injuries will take even longer to heal.

In her victim impact statement read to the court, Knowles told the judge, “I continue to grapple with the emotional damage and struggle to recover from the devastating betrayal and violence of this assault.”

Psychological reports entered as evidence in the case indicated no mental health or substance abuse issues but pointed to Parker as a “moderate risk” for reoffending with intimate partner violence, the judge noted.

The reports also said Parker had limited understanding of why he exploded in a “violent rage at a completely trivial matter,” said Challenger. “He said he couldn’t stop himself.”

Challenger sentenced Parker to two years less a day in jail followed by two years’ probation. Under the terms of probation, Parker must have no contact with Knowles or any member of her family, must not possess weapons, consume alcohol or drugs or date anyone without the probation officer informing that person of his criminal history.

Outside the court, Knowles said she is still struggling to understand the attack and has started divorce proceedings.

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