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Teen stabbing victim let out 'bloodcurdling' scream: witness

Trial continues for Elliot Lake man charged with attempted murder for allegedly stabbing a teen girl when he was 16; victim's dad testifies he 'was all over town' looking for suspect
The Sault Ste. Marie Courthouse is pictured in this file photo.

A teenaged girl who was stabbed in Elliot Lake three years ago suffered “a significant liver laceration,” jurors heard during the trial of her accused assailant.

Dr. Sanjay Patel, a surgeon at Health Sciences North in Sudbury, operated on the then-17-year-old victim on March 13, 2021 — two days after she was attacked.

The girl had a four-centimetre laceration in the muscle of her diaphragm.

She also had a significant amount of bleeding in her abdomen, under the ribs on the right side of her body, and required a blood transfusion.

Patel described her condition as critical during testimony last week. 

The liver laceration, which was five to six centimetres deep, was a penetrating wound.

This injury was under a large blood clot that he removed from her liver during the surgery.

Patel told jurors an injury to her neck was a superficial wound.

The girl was taken to hospital in Elliot Lake at about 8:30 p.m. on March 11 and later transferred to the Sudbury facility.

The 18-year-old accused — who was 16 at the time, and can’t be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act — has pleaded not guilty to attempted murder and aggravated assault in connection with the March 11 incident.

As well, he faces a sex assault charge stemming from incidents that are alleged to have occurred between Jan. 1 and March 11 of that year.

A publication ban prohibits reporting information that identifies the victim.

On Tuesday, the victim's father told the court he was watching television on the evening of March 11 when he received a frantic phone call from his daughter.

"She said she was stabbed and needed help ... I jumped into my truck," headed to the route she always took home, and found her three minutes away from their house.

His daughter was "hunched over," holding her neck and her side, and "was in shock."

The dad described how he grabbed a sweater, put pressure on her bleeding neck and rushed her to St. Joseph's Hospital.

During the five-minute trip, she talked about someone who had been walking her home, hugged her and then stabbed her.

The girl named her attacker.

"They were supposed to be friends" and were hanging out, the witness told prosecutor Eve-Marie Talbot.

During cross-examination by defence lawyer Eric McCooeye, her father indicated that he had never met the accused.

"You're convinced he's guilty," the accused's lawyer suggested, and tried to find out information about the teen.

"I was all over town looking for him," the man said.

"Were you looking for him to do harm?" McCooeye asked.

"I'm not sure," he replied. "I was in a bad state then."

Also on Tuesday, jurors heard from another Crown witness who resided on Axmith Avenue, near a bus stop where the alleged attack occurred. 

Patricia Stewart was in her living room, working on a craft project, when she heard screaming and a horrible commotion outside her home.

She described the sound as "piercing, bloodcurdling," but initially assumed the commotion was kids fooling around.

"The voice was loud," she said, and appeared to be coming from the road in front of her house. "It was horrific, deep screaming."

By the pitch of the voice, the witness said she thought it was a female.

When she heard the person scream a second time, Stewart got up and opened her living room shutters.

A man wearing a dark jacket was walking down the street, she told Talbot.

He was on the other side of the road, "just walking normally."

Since there had been a commotion and he didn't stop, "I thought it was kids and that he wasn't interested" in what was happening, the witness said.

It was dark and there were no other people or vehicles on the street.

"I assumed if it was bad, the person would have turned around," she said during cross-examination by McCooeye. 

Stewart said she went downstairs and spent an hour watching TV with her husband.

When she went back upstairs, police had blocked the road, sirens were blaring, lights flashing, and officers were knocking on their door.

The court heard she hadn't contacted the police, indicating to the defence she hadn't seen anything that warranted a call to 911.

About the Author: Linda Richardson

Linda Richardson is a freelance journalist who has been covering Sault Ste. Marie's courts and other local news for more than 45 years.
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