Original article no longer available
The Waterloo Record
February 18, 2009
Dianne Wood, RECORD STAFF
KITCHENER – A man who tried to stab his wife with a screwdriver before choking her almost to unconsciousness was found not criminally responsible for the shocking attack yesterday.
Kitchener’s Ontario Court heard Paulo Amorim had never been violent with his wife in their 14 years of marriage. Neither he nor his family had any history of mental illness.
But suddenly, last November, the 40-year-old man erupted into a full-blown psychotic state. He believed his wife, Diane, was having an affair and was having him followed.
He confronted her in the driveway of their Kitchener home while she was cleaning the car on Nov. 1. Amorim told Justice Michael Epstein he doesn’t recall anything about that day.
Court heard he angrily asked his wife why she was lying. She later told police he had a look on his face she’d never seen before.
He knocked her to the ground, pulled a screwdriver from his pocket and tried to stab her in the chest. She screamed and fought back.
He dropped the screwdriver and began choking her, said Lynette Fritzley, the prosecutor in mental health court.
Amorim then began kicking his wife in the head. She managed to break free and run to the house, fearing for the safety of their teenage daughter.
But when she got there, she realized the teen wasn’t there and went back outside. Her husband had retrieved a wooden bat from a shed and was holding it menacingly over his head.
Her daughter was outside and had seen everything.
Police were arriving by then, summoned by neighbours who’d heard her screams.
“Don’t shoot my daddy,” the couple’s daughter pleaded with police.
Amorim agreed to drop the bat and was arrested with no trouble.
Forensic psychiatrist Dr. Robert Dickey testified Amorim was “clearly psychotic” and didn’t appreciate the wrongfulness of his actions.
“I think he was almost paralyzed and overcome by fear and suspicion,” Dickey said.
He’s returned to normal since being prescribed anti-psychotic medication.
His suspicions had started in the spring. He believed his wife was having him followed and wanted to harm him, the doctor said. This was related to her supposed infidelity.
He thought she was trying to end their relationship and take their children.
The violence was “totally out of character for him,” the psychiatrist said. Asked by the Crown if it was unusual for a man of his age to develop a psychotic disorder, Dickey said it was “somewhat unusual.”
The prosecutor said Amorim’s wife still loves him and hopes to reconcile.
He’ll remain at the Mental Health Centre in Penetangui-shene until the Ontario Review Board decides within 45 days what should happen to him.
Court heard Amorim had been experiencing depression in the months leading up to the incident. He was becoming increasingly jealous.
The night before the attack, he came home in a paranoid state. He told his wife he’d been driving around all afternoon and was being followed by cars.
She took him to the Grand River Hospital crisis unit. He was given an antidepressant and sent home.