Hospital patient pleads guilty to dumbbell assault of nurse in Abbotsford

Neale Heath admits to assault causing bodily harm in attack last September

The man charged with attacking a nurse at Abbotsford Regional Hospital (ARH) in September has pleaded guilty to one of the three charges he faced.

Neale Rex Heath, 62, pleaded guilty on Monday in Abbotsford provincial court to assault causing bodily harm.

Two counts of assault with a weapon are expected to be stayed at sentencing.

Heath was initially charged with aggravated assault but that was later downgraded.

The BC Nurses Union (BCNU) released details about the attack on Sept. 26, saying that two days earlier a patient had struck a nurse with a dumbbell in a medical unit at ARH.

RELATED: ‘This should never have happened:’ BCNU president says attack on nurse was preventable

RELATED: Daughter of patient charged in Abbotsford nurse attack says she warned hospital of danger

The BCNU said the nurse sustained a broken jaw, fractured cheek bones, damaged teeth and other serious injuries.

The union also said at the time that the perpetrator of the attack had been assessed and was found to have “violent tendencies.”

After Heath was charged, his daughter said that, before the assault, she had repeatedly warned health workers about the danger posed by her mentally ill father.

She said that her dad had attacked his wife the previous week while he was in a state of psychosis and having delusions.

According to provincial court records, Heath was charged on Jan. 10 of this year with an assault in Hope on Sept. 18, 2019 – six days before the hospital attack.

Heath is next due to appear in court for the hospital assault on Feb. 20, when a psychiatric report is scheduled to be presented.

The judge could decide to proceed with sentencing that day or reserve judgment for a later date.

– with files from Tyler Olsen, Abbotsford News

Report an error or send us your tips, photos and video.

Vikki Hopes | Reporter

@VikkiHopes

Send Vikki an email.
Like the Abbotsford News on Facebook.
Follow us on Twitter.

Court

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

‘Not a joke’: Promoter wants to rocket-launch man the length of White Rock pier

Brooke Colby says he’s building an eight-foot rocket in his backyard

Missing North Delta senior found deceased

88-year-old Jarnail Sanghera had been missing since the morning of Friday, May 15

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

Dry-grad cancelled, Elgin Park students make donation to food bank

Students donate $1,800 to food bank after being forced to cancel graduation event

Prospera Credit Union, Westminster Savings lay off over 100 staff following historic merge

2020 merger was largest credit-union merger in Canadian history

Trudeau to seek 10 days of paid sick leave for Canadian workers, says talks are ongoing

Paid sick leave is key to keeping COVID-19 spread under control, prime minister says

Commercial rent relief applications open as feds encourage landlords to apply

Program would see government cover 50 per cent of the rent

COVID-19: B.C. park reservations surge as campgrounds reopen

Keep trying, many sites not reservable, George Heyman says

$2,000 reward for info on suburban trap after raccoon dies

Animal rights groups say there was no need for the trap

Help the ‘Cloverdale Reporter’ continue its mission to provide trusted local news

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

B.C. residents can now reserve a provincial campsite for a stay starting June 1

Campsite reservations will only be available to British Columbians

Cullen commission into money laundering in British Columbia resumes today

Inquiry was called amid growing concern that illegal cash was helping fuel real estate, luxury car and gambling

Bike shops busier than ever, but owners worry about stock supply issues

Uptick in cyclists brings new challenges for shops

RCMP facing ‘systemic sustainability challenges’ due to provincial policing role

Provinces, territories and municipalities pay anywhere from 70 to 90 per cent of the cost of the RCMP’s services

Most Read