NEW WESTMINSTER, B.C. – For the first time since the deadly stabbing spree in Lynn Valley two years ago, the man who has pleaded guilty to the horrific attacks spoke at length in front of a courtroom Friday morning.
Handcuffed, 30-year-old Yannick Bandaogo addressed the New Westminster courtroom in French, the language that has been used throughout the case.
Addressing each victim by name, he apologized.
“I can only formulate my most sincere condolences to all those affected, directly or indirectly by this tragedy caused by bad choices, by my destructive behavior,” Bandaogo said.
He said he found it difficult to find words to explain his life, something he calls “incessant personal destruction” but that it is “difficult to excuse.”
He spoke about his life at home in Quebec, mentioning he physically and verbally assaulted his mother and her partner.
“I did not contribute to a healthy relationship because my drug use induced psychosis for several weeks,” he said.
He became homeless as he left to Ontario, where his drug addiction escalated.
“Starting with crack, I also stumbled into crystal meth and my dark thoughts were amplified,” he said.
From Toronto, he moved to Vancouver, where he called this version of himself a “coward” and “weak person.”
“I sank into a relentless fall without being able to seek help from anyone else,” Bandaogo said.
KILLER’S STATEMENT CALLED ‘HEARTFELT’
Georges Rivard, Bandaogo’s defence lawyer, called the statement “very heartfelt.”
“He took time to properly draft his statement,” Rivard said.
The father of the 20-year-old victim who died in the mass stabbing entered the gallery, something he’s partly refrained from doing during the sentencing.
Before Bandaogo’s statement, a written letter from the killer’s mother was read aloud by the defense.
She wrote that she thought often about the victims and that this should never have happened.
She explained how her son had a history of mental health and addiction issues and the system failed him when the family tried to get help, but couldn’t.
She acknowledged the behavior is no excuse for his crimes, but hoped it would provide victims and their families with some context.
Bandaogo frequently looked down at the ground as the letter was read.
What was not clear in his statement was a motive behind the attacks.
“I think the fact that he ended up on the North Shore is a matter of coincidence; he got on public transit and ended up at the end of road and that’s how he likely was in North Vancouver,” said Rivard.
Both statements come days after multiple victims read emotional impact statements in front of the court room.
Each heartbreaking story recounted the moments they came face to face with Bandaogo and how the attacks forever changed their lives.
“It’s clear in this case that Mr. Bandaogo and the Crown’s perspective is he is still a danger and needs to be separated from the community,” said Jean-Benoit Deschamps, the Crown counsel.
“The fact that he pleaded guilty to a murder where it’s basically life imprisonment, he’ll be supervised for the rest of his life by Corrections Canada.”
LYNN VALLEY STABBING
In May, Bandaogo pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree murder, five counts of attempted murder and one count of aggravated assault.
On March 27, 2021, Bandaogo went on a stabbing spree in and around the Lynn Valley Public Library, targeting several strangers.
He killed one woman in her 20’s and seriously injured six other people, one of whom lost her eye in the attack.
Police say Bandaogo had self-inflicted wounds when he was arrested at the scene.
So far, no motive has been publically discussed.
The sentencing has been moved to Aug. 31 in New Wesminster court.
Source : CTV