Woman gets house arrest for attack involving hatchet

Published on August 18, 2014

PICTOU – A Pictou County woman will be spending time confined to her home after pleading guilty to assaulting a former partner with a hatchet.

Patricia Beresford, 50, formerly of Heathbell, received Thursday in Pictou provincial court a 12-month conditional sentence order that includes eight months’ of house arrest.

Crown attorney Patrick Young told the court that RCMP were called to Beresford’s home on April 24 following a domestic dispute with her boyfriend.

When police arrived, a man was standing outside beside a motorcycle and he had dry blood on one cheek and a cut on one of his forearms.

He told police that Beresford came after him with a hatchet and cut his leather jacket and chaps. When the officer spoke with Beresford inside the home, she said that the victim had assaulted her by pulling her hair and caused her to fall down. The computer in her home was also damaged during the incident.

The officer noted that a large clump of hair was found in the home on a piece of furniture, but there were no visible injuries to her hands, face or neck.

When the victim left her mobile home, Beresford said she followed him outside with a hatchet in her hand and was planning on hitting his motorcycle, but ended up striking him.

“She knew what she did was wrong by hitting him with the axe,” said Young. “She knows she shouldn’t have hit him. She should have let him leave.”

Beresford said she first told him to leave her property, but then told him to stay because she was calling the police.

Defence lawyer Hector MacIsaac said his client’s relationship with the victim was “brief and stormy” and is now over. Beresford currently lives in Guelph, Ont., and expects to return there in fall after she closes a family estate.

He said she has also taken steps to improve her life by finishing a payroll and accounting course and is now looking for full-time employment.

Judge Del Atwood acknowledged that a joint recommendation for a conditional sentence order was appropriate in this case and that Beresford posed no risk to the public by serving her sentence in the community.

He noted there have been significant domestic abuse cases in the court system where one person retaliates after being allegedly abused by another.  

“I am really concerned about what happened to you on April 24,” he said. “It is clear the relationship ended and indications are that is good thing for your safety and the public. I have every confidence you will get through this with every success.”