‘Incel’ jailed for life for machete terror attack in Canada

‘Incel’ jailed for life for machete terror attack in Canada

A Canadian man who carried out an incel-inspired terror attack on a massage parlour has been sentenced to life in prison.

In February 2020, the man walked into a massage parlour in the Toronto township of North York and fatally stabbed the receptionist, 24-year-old Ashley Noell Arzaga, more than 40 times with a machete. He then seriously injured another woman before he was disarmed.

The killer, who is now 21 but was 17 at the time of the attack, was not named in local media as per Canada’s Youth Criminal Justice Act.

The man pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder in September last year. Earlier this year, Judge Sukhail Akhtar found that the attack did meet the criminal code definition of terrorist activity.

On Tuesday, Judge Akhtar dismissed claims that the man was brainwashed by the incel movement and decided to sentence the man as an adult. Prosecutors had previously argued in court that the man was almost 18 at the time of the attack, and that he had carefully planned and researched how to carry out the killing.

“I do not accept his … attempt at avoiding responsibility by claiming that he was brainwashed by that culture. He sought it out, he accepted it and he acted upon it,” the judge said, per CBC.

The man was sentenced to life behind bars with the possibility of parole in 10 years for the murder, as well as three years for the attempted murder of the second woman. Sentencing the killer as a youth, which would have carried a default sentence of 10 years in prison, would have been “insufficient, Judge Akhatar told the court.

The killer reportedly found “inspiration” in the man who was responsible for a deadly van attack in Toronto in 2018 and who considered himself an incel, short for involuntary celibate.

The owner of the Downsview massage parlour, who survived the attack, told CTV News Toronto in 2020 that she had to “fight for her life” after the attacker entered her parlour with a large machete and severely injured her after stabbing Arzaga.

The Canadian government describes the term incel as an “ideologically motivated violent extremist online subculture or community in which members express a gender-driven, violent misogynist worldview”. The verdict marked the first time an incel-related incident was found to be an act of terror, Crown prosecutor Lisa Mathews was quoted as saying by CTV News in June.

The man apologised to the family of the victims during a hearing earlier this month and stated that he no longer held misogynistic views.

“I’ve come to realize that life is so much more than just internet negativity … I wish I could travel back in time and talk some sense into my former self,” he reportedly said at the hearing, per CBC.

The court had previously heard that the accused used a 17-inch sword he had obtained months prior to the attack and had the words “thot slayer” engraved.

He was reportedly carrying a note reading “long live the incel rebellion.”

Source » independent.co.uk