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Nanaimo man found not criminally responsible for woman's murder

Simon Baker was 21 years old when he stabbed a woman to death outside of the Nanaimo, B.C., home of his grandparents. (Nanaimo RCMP) Simon Baker was 21 years old when he stabbed a woman to death outside of the Nanaimo, B.C., home of his grandparents. (Nanaimo RCMP)

A Vancouver Island man who pleaded guilty to stabbing a stranger to death outside his grandparents' home in Nanaimo, B.C., has been found not criminally responsible for the woman's murder due to a mental disorder.

Simon James Baker, then 21 years old, attacked 41-year-old Denise Allick in 2022, fatally stabbing her six times in the face, neck and shoulder.

On Wednesday, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Douglas Thompson found "that in the moments when Mr. Baker stabbed Ms. Allick, he was incapable of rationally considering whether his conduct in the particular circumstances would have been morally condemned by reasonable members of society."

The court heard that Baker was watching television with his grandparents on June 20, 2022, and planned to visit a friend's house later that night. At approximately 10:10 p.m., he told his grandmother he was going outside for a cigarette, and she responded that she would take him to his friend's house when he was ready to go.

One or two minutes later, the grandmother heard a woman screaming outside the home. She opened the door to find Allick bleeding on the ground and Baker standing nearby, saying "this chick was attacking me," the judge wrote in his decision published online Friday.

Baker, uninjured, went inside and told his grandfather, who was partially deaf, that there was a woman covered in blood outside.

Allick was still breathing when the grandmother called 911, but died during the six-minute call, according to the judge. A stab wound to her neck had severed her left carotid artery, causing her death, the court heard.


While his grandmother was on the phone with the 911 operator, Baker called a taxi and asked to be picked up at a nearby school. He was picked up at 10:25 p.m. and the taxi took him back to his grandparents' home, where he was arrested by Mounties around 10:36 p.m.

Police found a knife in the pocket of Baker's hooded sweater, and he told police that he was an opiate addict and had taken a small amount of drugs an hour earlier but was starting to experience withdrawal symptoms.

"Is that woman alright?" Baker asked police while being transported to the Nanaimo RCMP detachment. At the police station, when he was told a second time that he was under arrest for murder, he replied: "So she's not alright," the court heard.

While his grandmother was on the phone with the 911 operator, Simon Baker called a taxi and asked to be picked up at a nearby school. The taxi took him to his grandparents' home, where he was arrested by Mounties. (CTV News)

The judge said it remains unclear why Allick was at the house that night.

"There is no evidence that Mr. Baker knew Ms. Allick, and no evidence that reveals why she was on Mr. Baker's grandparents' property," he said.

The Victoria woman had been drinking with a friend at a Nanaimo home when they left to go to a liquor store a couple blocks from Baker's grandparents' house around 9 p.m.

After leaving the liquor store, Allick went next door to a gas station to buy cigarettes, where she bumped into the 11-year-old child of her friend's former partner, the court heard.

"Ms. Allick yelled at and grabbed the child," the judge said. "After this altercation, Ms. Allick's friend walked home and Ms. Allick left in her car. The car was ultimately located on 8th Street, parked in the same block as Mr. Baker's grandparents' home."


Two forensic psychiatrists testified that Baker was experiencing schizophrenia, compounded by very serious substance-use disorders at the time of the murder. Baker had been undergoing treatment with an antipsychotic medication and was nearly due for his monthly injection, said the judge.

Baker had his first mental health assessment in December 2017, when he was 17 years old.

He told doctors he was experiencing delusions and hallucinations of people breaking into his home. He was hospitalized for weeks in which he "persistently held onto the ideas that he was attacked in the emergency room by being hit on the knee with a baseball bat, and that his mother was raped in the emergency room," according to the judge.

He was prescribed monthly injections of the anti-psychotic medication Abilify (aripiprazole) in 2018, however he continued to experience intermittent psychotic episodes over the coming years, including at least two in which he brandished knives.

During an interview with police two days after the murder, Baker's mother told investigators her son had been "paranoid, delusional and very concerned about trespassing on his property" for several months.

She also said her son believed he was possessed by a demon at his grandparents' house, and she described his drug use escalating from alcohol and marijuana as a teenager to cocaine and eventually fentanyl.

"It is clear from interactions with the police and hospital staff, and the accounts of his family, that in the months leading up to the event he was intermittently psychotic with prominent paranoia. For several years he harboured beliefs that he would be attacked in his home," the judge said.

"I think it is likely true that this terrible event unfolded within seconds. I find that Mr. Baker reacted on impulse rooted in paranoia when he stabbed Ms. Allick, with little or no opportunity for rational consideration."

The judge ordered that Baker be held in custody at the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital in Coquitlam, B.C., pending a disposition by the provincial review board. Top Stories

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