Abbotsford Regional Hospital

Man who assaulted nurse in Abbotsford sentenced to three months in jail

Neale Heath used dumbbell to strike nurse in hospital last September

A man who attacked and injured a nurse at Abbotsford Regional Hospital (ARH) last September has been sentenced to a three-month jail term to be followed by two years of probation.

Neale Heath, 62, was sentenced Wednesday (April 29) in Abbotsford provincial court after previously pleading guilty to assault causing bodily harm.

Two counts of assault with a weapon were stayed at sentencing.

Heath was initially charged with aggravated assault but that was later downgraded.

The BC Nurses Union (BCNU) released details about the attack on Sept. 26, saying that two days earlier a patient had struck a nurse with a dumbbell in a medical unit at ARH.

RELATED: ‘This should never have happened:’ BCNU president says attack on nurse was preventable

The BCNU said the nurse sustained a broken jaw, fractured cheek bones, damaged teeth and other serious injuries.

The union also said at the time that the perpetrator of the attack had been assessed and was found to have “violent tendencies.”

After Heath was charged, his daughter said that, before the assault, she had repeatedly warned health workers about the danger posed by her mentally ill father.

She said her dad had attacked his wife the previous week while he was in a state of psychosis and having delusions.

According to provincial court records, Heath was charged on Jan. 10 of this year with an assault in Hope on Sept. 18, 2019 – six days before the hospital attack.

He is next scheduled to appear in court on that charge on June 30 in Chilliwack.

– with files from Tyler Olsen, Abbotsford News

RELATED: Daughter of patient charged in Abbotsford nurse attack says she warned hospital of danger

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