Man who pleaded guilty after attacking girlfriend with a sword appeals his conviction

Exterior pics of the Calgary Courts Centre in Calgary on Monday, August 10, 2020.

A man sentenced to eight years in prison for attacking his girlfriend with a sword before setting her bedroom on fire is appealing his conviction.

Collin Ayorech, 40, pleaded guilty last year to multiple offences related to events between 2017 and 2019, including an assault on June 9, 2019, that left Dawn Warden with three severed fingers and cuts to multiple parts of her body.

Ayorech this week sought an appeal of his conviction as well as permission to appeal his sentence.

There are no grounds for the appeal listed.

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According to an agreed statement of facts, Ayorech attacked Warden in her Airdrie apartment after an argument while the two were drinking alcohol in her bedroom. After repeatedly hitting Warden with a sword, Ayorech lit her mattress on fire and forced her into a closet. Warden was able to escape and crawl to her front door to call her adult son for help.

Ayorech pleaded guilty to aggravated assault, arson and breaching a no-contact order.

Ayorech has schizophrenia, and the judge who sentenced him earlier this month said his mental illness was a mitigating factor but that the “devastating” effects of the victim’s injuries, including scarring and permanently lost fingers, also had to be taken into account. Warden was hospitalized after the attack, and she endured several surgeries.

The judge also recommended Ayorech be allowed to serve the remaining 5 1/2 years of his sentence after credit for remand time at the secure Regional Psychiatric Centre in Saskatoon.

During Ayorech’s trial, his defence lawyer, Rebecca Snukal, said a court-ordered assessment to determine if Ayorech qualified for a not criminally responsible by reason of a mental disorder defence came back negative.

Snukal also said her client has no memory of the attack on Warden.

— With files from Kevin Martin

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