Sudbury

Alexander Stavropoulos pleads guilty to two counts of attempted murder in random knife attack

A 26-year-old man has pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted murder for a random knife attack on a woman and her baby last June.

Stavropoulos told police his belief in the 'incel' movement motivated his attack

A woman and her baby in the parking lot of Michael's in New Sudbury were randomly attacked by a knife-wielding man in June 2019. (Yvon Theriault/ Radio-Canada CBC)

On June 3, Alexander Stavropoulos woke up, had a cup of coffee and decided to take a bus to a shopping area in New Sudbury.

He told police investigators later that after months of thinking about it, he had decided that would be the day he would randomly kill a woman and her child.

Stavropoulos told Sudbury police that he is a member of the "incel" movement and that he was inspired by the Alek Minassian van attack in Toronto from April 2018.

"I couldn't get laid, so I just wanted to kill for some reason," he told police in his interview. "It could be a lot of things."

The court heard he was at the Silver Hills plaza for a few hours, purchased two utility knives from Home Depot, before randomly selecting a woman with two young children in the parking lot outside Michael's.

"I just saw her and decided that is the one," Stavropoulos told police after.

The court heard that he slashed the woman in the neck, was surprised by how much she fought back and then attempted to stab her 8-month-old child sitting in a stroller.

Brent Holder, who was sitting in his parked truck, heard the screaming and ran toward Stavropoulos, who told police he then slit his own throat, but wasn't sure why.

Another bystander in the parking lot that day, a woman training to be an emergency room doctor, helped the mother who had "blood spurting out of her neck" while her child had only minor cuts and scratches.

A terrified 911 call from each bystander was played in the courtroom on Monday morning.

Brent Holder saved a woman and her baby from a random knife attack in the parking lot of Michael's in New Sudbury in June 2019. (Erik White/CBC )

Stavropoulos listened to the tape from the witness box, with his head in his hands.

The court also heard that the mother was rushed to the hospital with a severed artery in her throat and that surgeons at Health Sciecnces North likely saved her life.

On Monday, Stavropoulos pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted murder, plus a breach of probation.

That relates to a weapons prohibition dating back to his conviction for a similar knife attack at the downtown Sudbury transit terminal in April 2018.

Assistant Crown attorney Leonard Kim told the court that he is seeking to have Stavropolous designated as a dangerous offender, which could allow the court to keep him incarcerated indefinitely.

That next stage of this case is set to begin on Jan. 23. 

About the Author

Erik White

journalist

Erik White is a CBC journalist based in Sudbury. He covers a wide range of stories about northern Ontario. Connect with him on Twitter @erikjwhite. Send story ideas to erik.white@cbc.ca