Playwright Heidi Janz speaks to reporters Monday outside the Edmonton courthouse. ((CBC))

A man was sentenced to 12 years in prison Monday and declared a long-term offender for a January 2008 attack on a disabled Edmonton playwright in her home.

Kenneth Peter MacWatt, 42, pleaded guilty last year to possession of a dangerous weapon, break and enter with intent to commit robbery and wearing a disguise in connection with the attack on Heidi Janz.

MacWatt's long-term offender status means he will be under close supervision for 10 years after he is released from prison.

Janz has cerebral palsy and uses a motorized wheelchair. MacWatt broke into her south Edmonton condominium, stabbed her three times in the shoulder and struck her, leaving her unconscious on the floor.

"I could have very easily died at Mr. MacWatt's hands that day," Janz told the court in her victim impact statement.

She told MacWatt her Christian beliefs compelled her to forgive him.

"I do, indeed, forgive you," she said.


Kenneth MacWatt was sentenced to 12 years in prison and designated a long-term offender. ((Edmonton Police Service))

Before he was sentenced, MacWatt was teary-eyed and told the judge he wanted to change.

"I almost killed a person, and I feel bad about it," he said.

Janz told reporters she thought MacWatt's sentence was fair and said it was "very moving" to hear him read his statement. Having the court hear her victim impact statement offered her closure, she said. 

"I thought it was important for the court to see the nature of my disabilities so they could appreciate the extent of the violence that occurred that day," she said.

Janz's father found her after the attack, which left him fearing for her safety. These days, he is less fearful and has finally stopped talking about having Janz move back home, she said.

MacWatt has a lengthy criminal record, which includes a conviction for aggravated sexual assault on another woman with a disability.