London man jailed after unprovoked attacks on shopper, dog-walker


Breadcrumb Trail Links

A London man who slapped two Stratford residents in the face in separate unprovoked attacks last May has pleaded guilty to two counts and has been sentenced to 18 months in prison.

Author of the article:

Galen Simmons Stratford Beacon Herald Archive photo Photo by photo in stock /Getty Images

content of the article

A London man who slapped two Stratford residents in the face in separate unprovoked attacks last May has pleaded guilty to two counts and has been sentenced to 18 months in prison.

display

This ad has not yet loaded, but your article continues below.

content of the article

Jonathan Halfyard, 36, submitted his pleading via videoconference from Stratford Prison, where he has been remanded in custody since his arrest by Stratford Police on May 29, 2021, the same date as the attacks.

According to an agreed statement of facts, Halfyard had walked between two customers at Stratford’s Huron Street Home Hardware Store that morning and, standing behind William Howe, had raised his fist and hit the 62-year-old squarely in the head. Howe hit his head on a metal shelf and fell unconscious to the ground, Crown Jeffrey Costain said while reading the factual statement.

Halfyard then went to another shop, left it and later arrived at Center Street in Stratford, where Chris Doussept, then 46, was walking his dog.

display

This ad has not yet loaded, but your article continues below.

content of the article

Costain said Halfyard stopped his truck, spoke briefly to Doussept, and then punched him in the face. Doussept was later able to provide police with a description of Halfyard and his truck, which enabled officers to locate and arrest the London man three minutes later.

While Doussept was unharmed, Costain said Howe was bleeding from his head and could not remember his date of birth several hours after the attack. He was immediately taken to the hospital, where Howe’s family said he spent more than a week in medical care. Howe has since undergone physical therapy and counseling for his injuries, according to Costain and Halfyard defense attorney Damon Hardy.

“This was an inexplicable attack on individuals completely unknown to Mr. Halfyard – unprovoked and without warning, with serious consequences for one of the individuals,” Costain said.

display

This ad has not yet loaded, but your article continues below.

content of the article

During his sentencing hearing, Hardy said Halfyard struggled with alcohol and drug use, particularly cocaine, and suffered from an undiagnosed mental illness. While he has been medicated in the past, he was not taking any prescribed medication on the day of the attacks, the attorney said.

“In the days leading up to these events here, I learned that Mr. Halfyard was a heavy user of alcohol, including cocaine, and had not slept for several days. I was told by Jonathan that he did not use on the day but had used on the days before. It sounds to me like it was some kind of bender,” Hardy said.

Halfyard, who runs a landscaping and snow removal business in London, had taken a paying job felling a tree earlier that day, Hardy said.

display

This ad has not yet loaded, but your article continues below.

content of the article

After he finished that job, Hardy said his client got into an argument with both a neighbor and a passenger, then drove by car to cool off, only to find himself in Stratford with no memory of the drive.

“The facts supporting these guilty pleas are extremely worrying. You have visited Stratford. . . and assaulted two citizens who were just minding their own business and going about their day,” said Judge Kathryn McKerlie.

“These are unprovoked, senseless acts of violence that require a clear message of denunciation and deterrence.”

Reading from Howe’s victim impact statement, McKerlie emphasized that the attack not only left the man with persistent pain, a headache and a lost sense of security, but also impaired his ability to trust strangers and people in general.

display

This ad has not yet loaded, but your article continues below.

content of the article

McKerlie also considered Halfyard’s violent criminal history, which dates back to 2011 and includes multiple assault convictions.

Regarding the assault and assault charges, the Stratford judge accepted Costain and Hardy’s joint motion for conviction and, with the Crown’s approval, formally withdrew a charge of negligence. Of his 18-month sentence, Halfyard received 342 days in pre-trial detention and will serve the remaining 198 days in Stratford Jail.

In addition to the usual conditions, Halfyard’s three-year probation includes orders not to leave his home when under the influence of alcohol or drugs and not to communicate with victims or stay within 200 yards of places where the known to stop victims.

After his sentence is served, Halfyard is also banned from the city of Stratford.

“I have great regrets for what happened. I wish it had never happened and I wish I could take it back somehow. I realize how important my mental health is now,” Halfyard said, adding he hopes to receive an official diagnosis for his mental illness and begin treatment in prison.

gsimmons@postmedia.com

Share this article on your social network

display

This ad has not yet loaded, but your article continues below.

display

This ad has not yet loaded, but your article continues below.

By clicking the subscribe button, you agree to receive the above newsletter from Postmedia Network Inc. You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the unsubscribe link at the bottom of our emails. Postmedia Network Inc | 365 Bloor Street East, Toronto, Ontario, M4W 3L4 | 416-383-2300

Remarks

Postmedia strives to maintain a vibrant but civilized forum for discussion and encourages all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour to be moderated before they appear on the site. We ask that you keep your comments relevant and respectful. We’ve turned on email notifications – you’ll now receive an email when you get a reply to your comment, there’s an update on a comment thread you follow, or when a user you follow comments follows. For more information and details on how to customize your email settings, see our Community Guidelines.