Victim of UBC attack barely knows her alleged assailant, father says
Published Thursday, October 6, 2016 3:55PM PDT
Last Updated Thursday, October 6, 2016 4:02PM PDT
A young University of British Columbia student who was brutally attacked in her dorm room this week barely knows her alleged assailant, her father said Thursday.
Oregon resident Michael Hare told CTV News his daughter, Mary, has been released from hospital after being treated for a gash on her neck, and is being looked after by her family.
Her mom flew into Vancouver after learning of the shocking assault committed Tuesday morning in the Salish House residences.
Hare said the family was completely caught off guard by what happened.
"She was doing really well at UBC up to then, and we had no apprehension for her safety," he said.
Witnesses said they were studying in the dorms when they heard screaming, and rushed over to find the victim being held with a knife to her throat. A Good Samaritan with martial arts training helped apprehend a suspect and hold him down until Mounties arrived.
The RCMP's university detachment has suggested the incident was not random, and that the victim and suspect knew each other, but the young woman's father said the accused was no more than "a nodding acquaintance" to his daughter.
"She said that she may have spoken to him once or twice, but she didn't really recall that even," Hare said. "He was certainly not in their friend group."
The victim is staying at a hotel, rather than returning to campus. Her father said he hopes she won't suffer lasting emotional trauma because of what happened.
"Mary is a strong kid," he said. "I hope she can get through this without having a fearful attitude toward other people."
Her accused assailant, Thamer Almestadi, is an 18-year-old from Saudi Arabia who was enrolled in Vantage College, a special program for first-year international students.
UBC confirmed it has banned Almestadi from returning to campus.
Immigration Minister John McCallum told CTV News that while applicants for student visas can be subject to criminal record checks, they're not mandatory.
"It's up to the discretion of the immigration officer. If they want to ask for a police check with regard to a particular student, they have the right to do so," McCallum said.
On Wednesday, Almestadi was charged with three counts in connection with the attack, including attempted murder. He remains in police custody.
With a report from CTV Vancouver's Nafeesa Karim