A “chilling” incident where a mother and her seven-week-old baby were threatened with a butcher knife has put a South Okanagan woman in federal prison and has banned her from Osoyoos once she is released.
Sharon Constance Forner pleaded guilty to one count of break and enter to commit an indictable offence and will spend 731 days in jail followed by a three-year probation, the maximum a judge can give.
Forner, disguised in a wig and wearing dish gloves, was caught on security surveillance footage entering the home of Katherine Rinas on Aug. 8, 2018 around 8:54 a.m. Rinas had shut the door on Forner after she said, “I want to see your baby.”
During the sentencing hearing on Friday, Judge Gregory Koturbash said the door did not lock and opened again — this time Forner came at her “wielding a large butcher knife over her head.” Rinas pushed the woman out, locked the door and called RCMP.
“Not only did Miss Forner’s crime impact the victim but it had a serious impact on the citizens of Osoyoos and the entire Okanagan Valley. Both parents and children had seen the chilling video on the internet and most are left wondering and concerned how something like this, something straight out of an Alfred Hitchcock horror movie, could happen in a small town,” said Koturbash.
Rinas lives just 150 metres from Forner’s residence at the time and the incident and it left her in shock for a few days.
“It was just in the moment when she was wearing a wig and gloves that I didn’t know who was there and my newborn baby was on the couch, it was quite traumatic in the moment,” said Rinas.
Rinas said the incident has been harder on her oldest daughter — who was four years old at the time.
“She still said she is scared that someone is going to come in and she sleeps with our big dog now,” said Rinas, who added that she has installed additional security to her residence.
“I am happy with the sentence I wish it was longer but I am happy with her probation and I am happy she is not coming back to Osoyoos. I am happy for the public, no one has to worry, and I can play outside in the front yard with my girls and not be worried about anything. Overall I am satisfied.”
Forner said she had no memory of the events and she said a possible explanation of her behaviour was that she saw her former boyfriend who had left her and went on to have a child with another woman which may have caused her to emotionally snap. Koturbash said Forner admitted to consuming on average 15 beers a day along with rye-whisky and marijuana and that she often started drinking as soon as she woke up and would not stop until she passed out or went to bed. During the sentencing, Koturbash said Forner was mixing alcohol with medication for depression.
“She said it was like pouring gasoline on to a fire,” said Koturbash, who added Forner has a criminal record and a history with alcoholism that includes a serious impaired driving accident and the time she has spent in custody is the longest stretch she has gone being sober.
Koturbash said he took into consideration that Forner has sincerely expressed her remorse for the incident, has been attending Alcoholics Anonymous while she has been in jail and has been a “model” prisoner. However, at sentencing he said she did contemplate her choices when she tried to disguise herself with a wig and knew that there was a newborn baby inside the residence.
The Crown was seeking four to six years and defence lawyer Justin Dosanjh wanted a 16-month term and three years probation, considering the amount of time she has already been in jail while awaiting sentencing. In totality, Forner was sentenced to 1,226 days and received 330 days of credit (which equalled 495 days with enhanced credit) — leaving her with 731 days left.
Forner’s probation requirements include a curfew from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., keeping outside a 50 kilometre radius from Osoyoos unless she has permission from her probation officer, not to be in the presence of anyone under the age of 14 without permission, not to consume alcohol or drugs that are not prescribed to her and not to enter a relationship with someone who has children under 14 without her probation officer first informing them of her criminal record.
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