Saturday, October 10, 2009

Canadian triathlete ordered to serve house arrest for beating of now ex-wife

By Darah Hansen, VANCOUVER SUN 10-08-09

A jail sentence would be “counterproductive” for a Salmon Arm man and renowned Canadian triathlete who
bound and savagely beat his wife repeatedly with a five-pound dumbbell while she begged him for mercy, a provincial court judge has ruled.

Instead, David Reid Dawson was ordered to serve a one-year conditional sentence — including six months of house arrest — followed by two years of probation for his part in the November 2007 aggravated assault on Judith Dawson.

Dawson, 55, who pleaded guilty to the charge, was sentenced in June in Salmon Arm by Judge Edmond De Walle.

The couple had been married 15 years when Dawson, the former captain of the Canadian Triathlon Team, viciously attacked his wife, seemingly out of the blue.

According to the victim, she was punched in the face several times and struck in the face with a barbell.

At one point, she lost consciousness after Dawson began choking her and, when she came to, found that her hands had been tied behind her back.

Despite repeated pleadings to stop the assault, Judith Dawson said her husband continued the violence, first putting a pillow over her face, then picking her up and carrying her to the kitchen where he once again tried to choke her to a point where, she told the court, she feared for her life.

“I begged and begged him to stop hurting me,” Judith Dawson wrote in a victim-impact statement submitted prior to sentencing.

The assault ended when the victim managed to free her hands and escape to a neighbour’s house.

Police arrived to find a bloodied and bruised Judith Dawson laying on a couch.

In her statement to the court, Judith Dawson said she suffered a broken nose and that both eyes were blackened in the assault. Her head, meanwhile, “was split open from the hits from the dumbbell and required stitches, as did my nose and lip. My jaw was very sore and bruised and with my swollen lips, I could only take in liquids for five days.

“Six weeks later, my face was still bruised and disfigured and I suffered a lot of pain and discomfort physically,” she said.

The court learned that David Dawson was suffering from mental illness at the time of the attack, diagnosed by one doctor as agitated depression and narcissistic personality disorder and by another as a “mixed personality disorder characterized by an excessive preoccupation with detail.”

However, Dawson was ordered fit to stand trial.

Since the assault, Dawson has taken responsibility for the assault, expressing “profound remorse, which seems sincere,” according to a psychiatrist who interviewed him earlier this year.

“He appears to be committed to maintaining his current recovery,” the psychiatrist further noted.

In pronouncing sentence in the matter, Judge De Walle said Dawson’s continued success would be better served by imposing a lengthy order of supervision, rather than jail time.

Dawson was ordered to spend the first six months at his home, with permission to leave only to attend work, church, medical and court appointments, and to go to the gym. He must also abstain from alcohol and drugs and have no contact with the victim.

The couple has since divorced.

© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun

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