Oregon Woman Sues Canadian University Over Knife Attack

(CN) – An Oregon woman is suing the University of British Columbia over an October 2016 knife attack in her dorm room by a Saudi Arabian engineering student who said God instructed him to kill her after listening to passages in the Quran.

Mary Hare claims in B.C. Supreme Court that she was in her third-floor dorm room at the university’s Salish House student residence hall on October 4, 2016 when another first-year international student named Thamer Hameed Almestadi, who lived in a shared room on the fourth floor of the building, entered her room with a knife and “violently attacked [Hare] by slashing her through with the knife and choking her.”

Hare said in the July 6 complaint that she suffered lacerations to her throat and an injured trachea and larynx, while now suffering from anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Hare claims the university failed to install adequate security bolts, chains, bars or peep holes in dorm room doors and “should have been aware of the risk of forced entry into rooms and assaults and/or persons entering student residence dorm rooms.”

“I just opened the door and was attacked with a knife … He had a knife to my throat. I just didn’t know what was going on … I just started screaming, ‘Somebody help me,’” Hare testified at Almestadi’s trial last year.  Two other students came to her aid and subdued Almestadi, who was found to have been suffering from a brief psychotic episode.

The man, 18 at the time of the attack, was found not criminally responsible at his trial in October 2017, where he faced charges of attempted murder, aggravated assault, and assault with a weapon. He was sent to a psychiatric hospital in the Vancouver suburb of Coquitlam for an indeterminate length of time.

In a statement, Janet Teasdale, the university’s acting vice president of students, called the incident “shocking and unprecedented.”

“UBC is aware of the case filed in B.C. Supreme Court. The safety of all members of our community is of utmost priority. The incident was shocking and unprecedented, and we care about the impact on all of those involved. As this matter is now before the courts, UBC will not comment further,” Teasdale said.

Hare’s lawyer, J. Scott Stanley with Murphy Battista in Vancouver, did not respond to Courthouse News’ request for comment.

Hare seeks unspecified damages for pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life, wage loss and special damages for medical and rehabilitation expenses.

 

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