New Brunswick

Acadieville man gets 6 months for assaulting two nurses in hospital

Randy Van Horlick, 71, was sentenced Friday to six months in jail followed by two years of supervised probation for attacking two nurses at the Georges-Dumont hospital in Moncton in March 2019.

Judge notes Randy Van Horlick's lack of remorse for assaults at Georges-Dumont hospital in Moncton

Randy Van Horlick was sentenced to six months in jail for assaulting two nurses at the Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont hospital in 2019. (Serge Clavette/Radio-Canada)

Randy Van Horlick, 71, was sentenced to six months in jail followed by two years of supervised probation for attacking two nurses at the Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont Hospital in Moncton in March 2019

Judge Yvette Finn said the aggravating factor was Van Horlick's lack of remorse for what he did.

Reading from her notes, Finn highlighted Van Horlick's statement at a sentencing hearing earlier in the month, when he maintained that he would not have assaulted Poirier if she'd done her job properly and that she was lucky he didn't kill her. 

"He is still angry about the position he was put in," said Finn.

Nurse manager was first victim

Finn read the facts of the case that included a blow-by-blow account of the assault against Poirier.

She was a nurse manager at the Dumont Hospital when Van Horlick stuck his head into her office.

Teresa Thibeault, Natasha Poirier were both assaulted by Randy Van Horlick. Poirier said she's glad it's over. Thibeault wanted Van Horlick to get a longer sentece. (Tori Weldon/CBC )

Within minutes he had her by the hair and was striking her in the face and temple as well as twisting her arm. The injuries she suffered have left lasting effects.

Reading from Poirier's victim impact statement, Finn said the nurse now has chronic neck and arm pain, and her brain injury stops her from following conversations and leaves her feeling, "even stupid at times."

Poirier wrote that she may not be able to return to her position as a nurse manager.

Teresa Thibeault was working as a licensed practical nurse the afternoon of the assault. She heard her colleague screaming and, following the cries for help, entered Poirier's office to find her on her knees, with Van Horlick holding her by the neck, punching her in her face. 

Three times she intervened, and her wrist was twisted and injured in the struggle. 

Thibeault was off work for six months after the attack.

Van Horlick's background

The pre-sentence report said Van Horlick was born in Vancouver and moved to Acadieville in 2012 with his wife.

The report said she had epilepsy and health issues when the two married 21 years ago.

Van Horlick refused to go into details about his family or background but did talk about the stress he felt being his wife's primary caregiver for such a long time.

She has since died, and the report said he has had a hard time accepting that she is gone.

Finn said stress and fear of losing his wife were explanations for what Van Horlick did, but they shouldn't influence her decision on sentencing.

"I find in this circumstance there are few mitigating factors,"

Defence sought community sentence

The crown had previously asked that Van Horlick serve three to six months in incarceration, while the defense asked the sentence be served in the community.

Finn said her decision to send Van Horlick to prison for six months was to act as a "denunciation and deterrence" for him and others.

As the hearing ended, Finn said to Van Horlick, "Just let it go."

He shook his head no and was led from the court into custody.

Nurses react

Afterward, Poirier said she didn't have much to say other than she was glad it's over.

Thibeault said, "It's a little bit disappointing."

She said she was hoping for a longer jail term. 

Notice of civil suit

The Crown had asked for restitution, but Finn said the victims would have to go to civil court for compensation.

Papers filed with the court of Queen's Bench show that Natasha Poirier did just that in August. 

The notice of claim asks that Van Horlick be held responsible for Poirier's income loss and the loss of future earnings, among other costs.

VanHorlick filed a notice of intent to defend in September. 


Tori Weldon


Tori Weldon is a reporter based in Moncton. She's been working for the CBC since 2008.