Calgary

New assault charge for man accused of cutting off ex-girlfriend's fingers with a sword in Airdrie attack

The man accused of attacking his ex-girlfriend with a sword inside her apartment in Airdrie, Alta., faces a new charge on the day that an emergency protection order (EPO) against the accused was extended by a year.

WARNING: This story contains disturbing and graphic details

Dawn Warden suffered severe, life-altering injuries in what police have described as a domestic attack. Most of Warden's fingers were cut off. Her on-again, off-again boyfriend Collin Ayorech was charged in the incident. (gofundme.com)

The man accused of attacking his ex-girlfriend with a sword inside her apartment in Airdrie, Alta., faces a new charge on the day that an emergency protection order (EPO) against the accused was extended by a year.

Dawn Warden barely survived the attack. Her attacker cut off most of her fingers and caused other life-altering injuries, then stuffed her in a closet and lit a mattress on fire in the bedroom.

On Wednesday, Court of Queen's Bench Justice Suzanne Bensler granted the maximum one-year EPO extension against Dawn Warden's ex-boyfriend, Collin Ayorech. Both Warden and her 18-year-old son are protected by the orders.

Ayorech faces charges of attempted murder, arson and possession of methamphetamine in connection with the June 9 attack. The accused has a lengthy criminal history including convictions for violent offences. He was on bail on assault charges at the time of the attack.

According to a 2012 Alberta Court of Appeal decision following convictions for weapons and robbery offences, Ayorech suffers from schizophrenia and a severe substance abuse problem.

Court heard Warden remains in hospital, recovering from her injuries which included severed fingers and several deep cuts all over her body. 

Warden left to die in closet

Prosecutor Joe Mercier confirms Ayorech faces a new assault charge stemming from an alleged attack at the Calgary Remand Centre, where he's been held since his arrest.

Warden was in her apartment on June 9 when it's alleged Ayorech attacked her with a sword, severing most of her fingers and causing other deep gashes all over her body, according to Bernadette LaBrie, a Legal Aid family lawyer who represented the victim at Wednesday's court hearing.

While bleeding profusely, Warden was then shoved into her bedroom closet while Ayorech is alleged to have lit a mattress on fire in the bedroom before leaving the apartment.

Warden's 18-year-old son was in his bedroom and noticed the smoke. He and neighbours helped get paramedics and firefighters to the home. 

"Had she been alone, she would have certainly died of her injuries," said LaBrie.

Following hours-long surgery, doctors were able to reattach some of Warden's fingers. Warden also has 150 staples "holding her together," according to a GoFundMe page that has raised more than $13,000 for the victim so far. 

LaBrie also noted Warden's apartment was significantly damaged by the fire, which destroyed many of the mother and son's belongings.

Ayorech will be in court in Airdrie on Thursday morning. Mercier says he plans to apply to have the accused's bail revoked at that time.

About the Author

Meghan Grant

CBC Calgary reporter

Meghan Grant is the courts and crime reporter for CBC Calgary.