Man chased his girlfriend with a hatchet, court hears

A Wawa man chased his girlfriend with a hatchet, threatening to kill her because he believed she was stealing from him.

She had dropped by to bring him dinner on Dec. 27, but he responded by telling her to get out of his apartment and chased her down the hallway.

The woman told police she thought he was suffering from a severe psychosis, perhaps from methamphetamine.

When officers from the Superior East detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police arrived, the woman wasn’t there and Nathan English had barricaded himself in his residence. 

The 35-year-old man became involved in a lengthy standoff with members of the OPP Emergency Response Team and other officers, a judge heard Tuesday when he appeared in court.

English was agitated and angry, and at one point officers thought he was loading a shotgun so they retreated from the building, prosecutor Blair Hagan said.

He surrendered to police after officers spent “multiple hours” speaking with him.

Officers located the hatchet and a machete, along with with a small amount of crystal meth.

English pleaded guilty to assault with a weapon, uttering a threat to cause death, possession of dangerous weapons and possession of a controlled substance.

He also was convicted of threatening offences, involving his mother and her husband, that occurred on March 14.

The woman called police, indicating she was afraid of her son, Hagan said.

English said he “wanted to rip off” her husband’s face “and “eat his brain” and wanted to kill her as well, Ontario Court Justice John Condon was told.

The threats were captured on a cell phone.

When officers arrived at her residence, English was sitting on the side of the road.

He took off his sweater and shirt and was “very assaultive” towards police.

Officers twice deployed a taser, English dropped to the ground, but continued to resist, Hagan said.

The Crown and defence lawyer Ken Walker jointly recommended a 12-month jail term, followed by two years probation.

English has a lengthy criminal record, that began in 2005 and continues for several pages, with the last entry in April 2021 and no notable gaps, Hagan said.

“He is quite well-known to local law enforcement in Wawa.”

She cited a number of aggravating factors __ English chased his girlfriend with a hatchet, was not to possess weapons, threatened his parents, resisted arrest and had to be tasered.

Walker said his client has spent 216 days __ enhanced to 324 days __ in pre-sntence custody, which leaves him with 41 days to serve.

“There’s no whitewashing, these charges are serious and violent,” he told Condon, adding the victims are concerned about their own well-being as well as the accused’s.

Since English has been custody, he has seen a doctor who says he has schizophrenia, Walker said.

He also noted that the woman involved in the December incident had suggested that English’s psychosis was because of mental illness and meth.

Citing his lengthy record with regular incidents of violence, Condon told the offender that he doesn’t know where his anger comes from, but suggested the three complainants were probably the people that cared the most about him and the people who could have helped him.

That “leads to a pretty isolated world if you can’t reach out to the people who care about you,”  the judge said.

As long as he has this deep-seated anger, English is going to be part of the justice system, Condon said.

 “Ignoring a problem is not going to solve it.”

Using meth when you are struggling with mental health and other issues doesn’t help, he added.

The court imposed the 12-month jail term sought by the lawyers, giving English the pre-sentence credit, which means he faces a further 41 days behind bars.

English will be on probation for two years with conditions that include no weapons and no communication with the complainants.

He must take assessment and counselling for anger management, substance abuse, domestic violence and psychiatric and psychological issues.

Condon imposed a 10-year weapons prohibition.

English must provide a DNA sample for the national database.