Devastated family members left Nanaimo court Wednesday, lost for words.
A B.C. Supreme Court Justice ruled that 41-year-old Denise Allick’s murderer, 23-year-old Simon Baker, is not criminally responsible for her violent killing due to his mental state at the time of the attack.
“Well, it’s the only thing that fits the facts. This whole tragedy is inexplicable unless you look at it through the lens of mental illness. Then everything fits into place,” said Baker’s Defence counsel Stephen Taylor.
Allick and Baker’s lives randomly collided on the night of June 20, 2022. Allick was the mother of a 12-year-old boy and a Victoria nurse described as outgoing and kind by her sister Sherri Allick.
“She was the most loving, happiest. She’d always hug me, and I’m not a hugger,” Sherri told CHEK News in December 2022.
Court heard that Allick was visiting friends in south Nanaimo when she walked onto the Eighth Street property of Allick’s grandparents, where he was staying.
“The theory is she was chasing after her dog,” Taylor told CHEK News.
Instead, she encountered 21-year-old Simon Baker, who had just walked outside for a cigarette. A young Nanaimo man who’d been repeatedly hospitalized for schizophrenia, psychotic breaks and paranoid delusions that his home would be invaded.
Court heard that’s when Baker stabbed an unsuspecting Allick six times, and she died before paramedics could reach her.
“It’s just such a tragedy. The timing is so bad that these two strangers had to meet at that moment when his paranoia and psychosis was activated and triggered by her arrival,” said Taylor.
Baker pleaded guilty to second-degree murder but claimed he was not criminally responsible.
On Wednesday, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Douglas Thompson agreed, stating: “I find that Mr. Baker acted on impulse…”
“In the immediacy of the moment. I find his perceptions were distorted,” Thompson said, adding, “Mr. Baker’s state was sufficiently disordered.”
Crown Prosecutor Nick Barber called it a difficult case.
“Well, I don’t know how the community will react to it, but it’s certainly something that we see every day, mental health and drug addiction. It had both of those things,” said Barber.
The court’s ruling that Baker is not criminally responsible for Allick’s murder will lead to his transfer from jail to a psychiatric hospital for treatment.
DECEMBER 2023 STORY: Mental disorder hearing in 2022 Nanaimo murder wraps up