Man deemed delusional when he slashed wife with knife

By Andrew Seymour, The Ottawa Citizen September 13, 2010

OTTAWA — A 63-year-old Ottawa man on Monday was found not criminally responsible of trying to kill his wife, after a psychiatrist testified he was suffering from paranoid delusions brought on by dementia that led him to believe she was cheating on him.

Abbas Saramgar was depressed and suicidal, felt threatened by his wife’s perceived lovers and was afraid of losing his relationship with her when he used a large kitchen knife to slash Fatima Vahedi in the face, arm and neck in their Blossom Park home exactly a year ago, Dr. Helen Ward testified.

The father of three then cut his own wrists and legs, injuring himself so significantly that he had to be resuscitated in hospital, she said.

Ward said testing showed a “dead area” in the part of Saramgar’s brain that controls the “animal instinct.” The damage was likely caused by a stroke, Ward said. In addition to dementia, Saramgar was suffering from psychosis and depression.

“He was depressed and despondent and very caught up in these beliefs about his wife having an affair,” said Ward. “He couldn’t make a rational choice except to attack his wife and kill himself.”

According to an agreed statement of facts, Saramgar and Vahedi were arguing when Saramgar went to the kitchen where he had an alcoholic drink. His wife followed, and Saramgar threatened to kill himself before attacking Vahedi with the knife he was using to cut an orange.

Vahedi then left their Levadia Avenue home — but ended up lying on the street in front of her driveway, where Saramgar stood over his bleeding wife before offering her his hand. When she refused to take it, he ran back into the house. About 10 minutes later, and covered in blood, Vahedi staggered down Athans Avenue toward Bank Street, where the driver of a passing truck stopped to help.

Ward testified that Saramgar believed his wife had been unfaithful to him and was sleeping with a number of men for about a year before the attack, going so far as to dress up in a “crude disguise” to follow her or go to the hair salon where she worked.

Saramgar had also begun tape recording in the house and was hearing voices, Ward said.

Family members — including his wife and two sons who were in court Monday — told Ward that Saramgar’s condition began to deteriorate rapidly after he was charged in 2008 with sexual assault for allegedly touching a CAS ward while he worked as a volunteer driver for the agency. Saramgar, who was sent to the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre, is back in court on that charge Tuesday.

Ward said there was no other motive for the attack, which supports the finding he was too sick to know what he was doing was wrong.

“This is a good relationship. Things only began to go wrong when he was delusional,” she said.

Read more: http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/deemed+delusional+when+slashed+wife+with+knife/3519258/story.html#ixzz0zUdo2y6x


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