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Man receives ten-year sentence for unprovoked hammer attack on Winnipeg teen

Judge: ‘He shows no insight, remorse or willingness to change’
The law courts are shown in Winnipeg on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/David Lipnowski

A judge has sentenced a man to 10 years in prison for “a vicious and unprovoked” hammer attack on a teenager.

Jerry Kipling, 31, was found guilty earlier this year in the 2020 attack that left the 15-year-old Winnipeg boy with the hammer’s claw lodged in his skull and brain.

“He shows no insight, remorse or willingness to change,” provincial court Judge Murray Thompson said Wednesday.

Kipling was also sentenced for possession of a weapon and two previous breaches of court orders.

Court heard the teen was ordering pizza slices in a shop in May 2020 and had a brief conversation with a man in a blue shirt. An agreed statement of facts said an employee saw the teen and the man getting along as the man showed the boy items in his backpack.

But when the teen left the restaurant, it said, the man followed him and hit him in the head with the hammer claw.

Court heard that Kipling didn’t help the boy. He grabbed the hammer’s handle, which had broken off, and left. The boy spent weeks in hospital and will require more surgeries.

“The consequences are catastrophic as the victim has been disabled for a lifetime,” Thompson said.

The teen’s victim impact statement, previously read into court, said he thought it was just going to be a regular day, but he ended up fighting for his life.

He has lost function of his right arm, has a stutter and must wear a helmet to protect his brain.

Family members told court the teenager is lonely and depressed, and that they all have become fearful since the violent attack.

“This has changed the whole family,” Thompson said. “None of them feel safe walking in public.”

Kipling, who appeared in court by video, did not respond to his sentence.

Thompson said Kipling’s violent, random attacks have continued behind bars. He stabbed another inmate with a pencil and has been removed from jailhouse programs.

The judge said Kipling is a high risk to reoffend.

“He lacks motivation to change.”

Crown lawyers had argued that Kipling’s sentence should be long because he has a history of unexplainable brutal attacks.

“The vicious and cowardly assault on (the teenage boy) was not an aberration,” Crown prosecutor Ari Milo said during a June hearing.

“This is who Jerry Kipling is — a violent unrepentant offender at the highest level of dangerousness.”

The Crown had requested 12 years in prison and the defence asked for eight years.

When Kipling was given an opportunity to address court in the summer, he did not express remorse. Instead, he argued the sentences being proposed were far too long.

“This isn’t a murder case, for one,” Kipling said. “There are guys that aren’t even getting that long for murder cases.”

—Kelly Geraldine Malone, The Canadian Press

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