British Columbia

Angry taunts fill B.C. courtroom in suspect appearance

The man accused of sexually assaulting and trying to kill a young mother was part of an angry verbal exchange as he made a brief appearance in a Penticton courtroom Thursday.

Family and friends vow revenge against alleged attempted murderer David Bobbitt

Anger erupted as David Bobbitt, accused of brutally attacking a woman in Penticton, B.C., was led into court, the CBC's Belle Puri reports 1:25

The man accused of sexually assaulting and trying to kill a young mother was part of an angry verbal exchange as he made a brief appearance in a Penticton courtroom Thursday.

David Wesley Bobbitt, charged with attempted murder and wanted on a Canada-wide warrant, was arrested Wednesday night  50 kilometres south of Penticton.

Bobbitt, 35, allegedly tied up and assaulted the 27-year-old victim in his Penticton second-hand store over a 12-hour period in front of her 22-month-old son, who was not physically harmed.

During Bobbitt's court appearance, the victim's sister shouted and swore at him, according to CBC reporter Jackie Sharkey, who was in the courtroom.

The victim's estranged boyfriend then shouted "You're dead," as people around the boyfriend held him back from lunging at Bobbitt.

Bobbitt yelled back, "Are you threatening me," and held up his shackled hands and gestured at the boyfriend.

Guards swiftly pulled Bobbitt from the courtroom.

Another verbal confrontation occurred outside the courtroom as Bobbitt was loaded into a sheriff's van, and the family shouted curses at him.   Bobbitt was remanded in custody and will undergo a psychiatric assessment.

Tip led to arrest

A farmer spotted the second-hand store operator setting up camp in an orchard near Oliver, about 50 kilometres south of Penticton, and called police.

"The [farmer] had a close friend who was an RCMP officer who happened to be off duty that day," said RCMP Cpl. Dan Moskaluk. "The man contacted the police officer, followed Bobbitt down the highway and kept an eye on him until police arrived."

Moskaluk said investigators notified the victim's family as soon as Bobbitt was arrested.

"[The victim] has been terrified since the incident, of course, and the key thing that was running through her mind ... was the fact that he was still out there," Moskaluk said.

"She was fearful for herself and everybody has been fearful that this alleged offender may hurt someone else."

The victim is recovering in hospital from serious injuries sustained in the attack.

Community rallies around victim

The victim's friend Lisa Redl said the victim and her family are relieved.

A donation box has been set up to help the victim. (Jackie Sharkey/CBC)

"The fact that he's been wandering around and has been caught — I am so happy for the family."

Friends and family are now rallying around the woman and her son, providing any support they can.

Friends like Crystal Sylvester are still in shock days after the assault.

"I still haven't come to grips, even though I've seen her and she's doing amazing," Sylvester said. "But I still can't believe someone would have the audacity to do that to somebody who's just going to buy a mattress — with their son."

The young woman is still recovering in hospital but doctors say she could be released soon.

Friend Brittany Rutherford is organizing a fundraiser at a local nightclub this weekend.

"She's a good friend of all the people that work there and stuff," Rutherford said. "We all know her personally and we just want to help her and get her through the tough time that she's going through."

Rutherford said the tragedy has pulled the community together.

"There's a lot of businesses and stuff that are donating items."

Meanwhile, the boy's father — who can't be named to protect the child's identity — said he is amazed at his son's resiliency.

"He's doing really well. He went and visited his mother ... and took to her right away, and is actually just like a big family again," the man said. "It's amazing how much of a trooper that little kid is because he seems like just another kid, just like another day."

With files from the CBC's Jackie Sharkey