A Victoria man has been sentenced to seven years behind bars for killing a father of four in the middle of Hillside Avenue after a night of partying.
Daniel Forrest Creagh, 28, was charged with one count of manslaughter, after he stabbed Joseph Gauthier twice in the early morning hours of March 10, 2018. A stab wound to the chest caused Gauthier to drop to the ground, lose consciousness and die from his injuries.
In a judgment posted on June 12, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Jennifer Powers stated Gauthier was 35 years old and “in the prime of his life” when he was killed, leaving behind a loving family and friends, along with four young sons.
Creagh consumed alcohol and cocaine leading up to the stabbing. An agreed statement of facts shows that Gauthier got in Creagh’s face, asking him why he was talking badly about him. When Creagh denied saying anything to that effect, Gauthier “continued to confront” Creagh.
Gauthier punched Creagh in the face several times and went to the ground when two or three people intervened. Creagh was bleeding and went inside the house to clean himself up. At some point, Creagh grabbed a knife from a kitchen drawer and went back outside. The confrontation continued, and eventually, the two men were standing in the middle of Hillside Avenue. Creagh made three or four striking motions toward the unarmed Gauthier, who “immediately fell to the ground.”
Creagh fled the scene, taking a taxi to a friend’s house and cleaned himself up before purchasing a bottle of vodka and ultimately ending up at a house in Langford where he was arrested by police at 4:20 a.m. on March 11.
Creagh, who grew up in Port Alberni, had a “difficult childhood” with an alcoholic father and was exposed to substance abuse and violence as a child. He started drinking socially by the age of 14, which turned into binge drinking at least three times a week as he grew older. In a 2017 pre-sentence report, Creagh said alcohol has been his predominant challenge, as he becomes jealous and violent when he drinks.
Creagh has a four-year-old daughter and has a long term goal of becoming her primary caregiver. The ruling lays out a number of past convictions, including assaulting his girlfriend during an argument in 2012 and punching another man in the head 10 to 12 times a month later. During both offences, Creagh had been drinking.
The “most violent” of his past offences happened a year before the fatal stabbing, where Creagh punched a man who fell to the ground. Creagh then kicked him in the back of the head and spat on him. The victim suffered a broken orbital bone and a severe black eye.
Powers noted a number of aggravating factors including the use of a knife, the level of violence used – specifically pointing to the fact Creagh kicked Gauthier in the head after he fell to the ground – and that he was on a conditional sentence order. Creagh’s guilty plea, his remorse and his “unfortunate upbringing” were noted as mitigating factors.
“The reality is, Mr. Creagh, you have already amassed an unenviable record of violence, and if you come before the court again after you complete this sentence, you could find yourself facing the rest of your life in jail. You should keep that in mind as you work towards your own rehabilitation, for yourself, your family, and your young daughter,” said Powers in court.
At the time of his sentencing, Creagh had spent 671 days in custody credited at time and a half, leaving him with four years and just over a month left to serve.
He is also prohibited from possessing any firearms or weapons for life.
“Mr. Creagh, I just wish to say to you that I take no pleasure in imposing this sentence, and I am hopeful that you will avail yourself of the programming that will be available to you in the federal institution. I do accept that you are sincere in your desire to rehabilitate yourself, and I wish you success in your rehabilitation,” said Powers.
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