Calgary

'No animosity' from Calgary senior left paralyzed in unprovoked CTrain attack, family says after guilty plea

The 64-year-old woman left paralyzed after she was pushed onto CTrain tracks wants her attacker to get help, according to the victim's family who spoke outside of a Calgary courtroom following a guilty plea. 

Stephanie Favel, 35, pleaded guilty to aggravated assault on Friday

Stephanie Favel was charged with attempted murder after shoving a woman onto the LRT tracks at the Victoria Park/Stampede Station last November. She pleaded guilty to aggravated assault on Friday. (Stephanie Favel/Facebook)

A 64-year-old woman left paralyzed after she was pushed onto CTrain tracks wants her attacker to get help, according to the victim's family, who spoke outside of a Calgary courtroom after a guilty plea. 

On Friday, Stephanie Favel pleaded guilty to aggravated assault, admitting to the random, unprovoked attack in November 2018.

Rozalia Meichl, 64, is still in hospital and will be in a wheelchair for the rest of her life.

"[Mom] has no animosity towards her. She wants to see her get some help and hopefully she gets that where she's going," said Meichl's daughter, Charmaine Newman.

Favel was angry, drunk and high on methamphetamine when she made a split-second decision to push a stranger into the path of an oncoming train, according to an agreed statement of facts presented by prosecutor Doug Taylor to provincial court Judge Harry Van Harten.

A sentencing hearing will take place at a later date.

Defence lawyer Adriano Iovinelli requested a Gladue report, which examines an Indigenous offender's background.

Rozalia Meichl, 64, was pushed off a C-Train platform by a stranger in an unprovoked attack. She is now paralyzed, according to her family. (Submitted)

Meichl and her fiance were standing on the Victoria Park LRT Station platform around 2:30 p.m. on Nov. 8 when Favel approached, according to the facts.

At first, Favel just mumbled something and walked away.

But after the northbound train's arrival was announced over the loudspeaker, Favel approached again and stood beside Meichl.

"The accused then suddenly, and without provocation, pushed the victim using her left shoulder and elbow," said Taylor.

Meichl landed on her head. She suffered a fractured spine and dislocated vertebrae. Meichl's family says she is now paralyzed.

The CTrain driver pulled the brakes right away and was able to stop the train at the "very edge of the platform."

Transit police officer Kitty Aalders, who had heard Favel cursing earlier, immediately moved through the crowd, pushed the suspect on the ground and held her there until backup arrived.

At the time, Favel told police she was "on a large amount of methamphetamine, marijuana, alcohol and Gravol," according to the agreed facts.

Forensic psychiatrist Dr. George Duska examined Favel and found she suffers from addictions to drugs and alcohol, borderline personality disorder and complicated grief.

Meichl's children said they took some comfort in seeing Favel crying in the prisoner's box.

"Seeing her shed tears showed signs of remorse," said Allan Hein. "Although it doesn't make it right, it definitely helps to know that she knows what she did was wrong."

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Meghan Grant

CBC Calgary crime reporter

Meghan Grant is a justice affairs reporter. She has been covering courts, crime and stories of police accountability in southern Alberta for more than a decade. Send Meghan a story tip at meghan.grant@cbc.ca or follow her on Twitter.

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