British Columbia

'I just opened the door and was attacked with a knife,' UBC student tells courtroom

A trial for a UBC student charged with attempted murder is underway in B.C. Supreme Court. The suspect is accused of attempted murder, aggravated assault, and assault with a weapon.

Trial for man charged with attempted murder in 2016 dorm room attack begins

Mary Hare was attacked with a knife in her dorm room at UBC last year. The trial for the accused in the attempted murder case began at B.C. Supreme Court Tuesday. (CBC News )

The victim of a horrifying stabbing inside a UBC dorm room last year came face to face with the suspect in the attack, as the trial for the accused began in B.C. Supreme Court Tuesday.

The court heard 20-year-old Mary Hare sustained serious injuries — including a five-inch-long cut to her throat — after she was attacked in her dorm at UBC's Salish House by a knife-wielding man in October 2016.

Hare testified she opened her room door after hearing a knock Oct. 4, 2016.

"I just opened the door and was attacked with a knife ... He had a knife to my throat. I just didn't know what was going on ... I just started screaming somebody help me." 

Thamer Hameed Almestadi pleaded not guilty to all charges in relation to the 2016 dorm room attack at UBC. (Facebook)

Thamer Hameed Almestadi has pleaded not guilty to attempted murder, aggravated assault and assault with a weapon, in the attack.

The international student from Saudi Arabia appeared in court with an Arabic translator. He wore a grey suit and white shirt, as he listened to the victim and witnesses describe the incident. 

Hare — who at the time was an international student from the U.S.— said she barely knew the suspect at the time of the attack, having only met him briefly in an international student orientation group.

"I fought him off. I did everything I could have done. I don't have any regrets about what I did ... I know that I was as strong as I could have been," she said.

At the time of the attack, 18-year-olds Adam Casey and Luca Berg were credited with likely saving Hare's life

Adam Casey and Luca Berg (left) were the first to get to a dorm room at UBC's Salish House and free a young woman being choked by a man. (Belle Puri )

In court, Luca Berg described a chaotic scene when he intervened in the altercation. Berg described how he watched his friend Adam Casey put the alleged suspect in a chokehold, trying to get him off the victim.

Berg said the man looked like he had come out of a trance after the attack.

"He looked like he had woken up from a nightmare. It was as though he was asking himself if this was real, " said Berg.

The court heard Almastadi had stopped attending classes and may have been hearing voices in his head in the weeks leading up to the attack.

The trial is scheduled for three weeks with police officers, friends, witnesses and psychological experts expected to take the stand.

Outside the courtroom, Hare — who has been back at home in Oregon since the attack — described her recovery as ongoing.

"I'm still afraid to open a door — I'm still afraid of going outside. I'm still afraid of meeting people. Just because I have that residual fear of opening the door and seeing someone standing there waiting to kill me. It's not easy to get over ... it was all very real. It was all very intense."