Can-Do-Ability: Answers and Solutions from my personal experiences of living with a disability

Cowards Beat Fragile Man To Death

12 Aug 2011Harvey Sanderson Jr. was a 27 year old man who had a great sense of humour, a kind heart, and was loved by many of his family and friends. He was pint sized (like me), born with Osteogenesis Imperfecta (brittle bones – also like me) and used an electric wheelchair to get around.

Harvey and one of his female friends went out on Friday night, the 29th July and parted ways at around 2am, early Saturday morning. It has been reported that once Harvey got back to his apartment block on Kennedy Street, in downtown Winnipeg in Canada, he met with a male and female out on the street, and eventually invited them upstairs to his apartment.

Once inside, it's unclear of the exact occurrences at this early stage, but for some reason, the male and female attacked Harvey, viciously beating him, before robbing him and leaving him for dead, alone in his apartment.

He wasn't discovered until Saturday morning, when a health care worker came to his home. An ambulance was called and Harvey was rushed to hospital in a critical condition. His parents ran to be by his side. It is unknown whether or not Harvey was conscious at all while he was in hospital, as very little details have been divulged.

His friend who was with him on the Friday night went to visit him on the Sunday, and spent most of the day sitting by his bedside, where she said he lay in a deep coma. She said she is filled with guilt, and wishes that they never went out on the Friday night. And she is having a very hard time dealing with everything that has happened at the moment.

The attackers, Bobbi Melissa McKay, and John Raven Ward, who are both 27, were arrested on the Saturday, at around 4pm, and charged with robbery and aggravated assault. Bobbi, was on probation for a previous conviction, and John was on parole and had a warrant out for his arrest at the time of the attack.

Sadly, Harvey died on Wednesday 3rd August, as a result of his massive injuries. At this stage, the attackers have not had their charges upgraded to homicide, but the possibility hasn't been ruled out, and a final decision will be made after Harvey's autopsy results are returned.

It is rumoured that one of the attackers lived in the same building as Harvey, and were arrested at that apartment block. It is believed that they only stole minor items from Harvey's possession, hardly a reason to kill a man over, let alone a defenceless man.

Jim Derksen, a fellow wheelchair user, who is also a policy adviser with the Winnipeg-based ‘Council of Canadians with Disabilities' has spoken about the shock horror that has swept the disability community. Jim feels that more affordable accessible housing should be made available, to prevent such incident's from happening in the future.

Where Harvey's unit block was, in downtown Winnipeg, is classed as a low-income area. The problem with most disability accessible properties is, that they are typically located in lower income areas, unless they are brand new, and because a lot of people with severe disabilities fall into the low-income category, it leaves them with very little options of where they can live alone, independently.

We have the same dilemma here, in Australia, before I met my partner, I was on a public housing register, and was expecting to be placed in my own home within the next few years, but was always in fear, of what I would be offered. As accessible public housing is usually grouped together, either with the elderly, in smaller dwellings, or any random mixture of single parents, migrants, drug addicts, ex-cons, elderly and the disabled, in larger blocks of units. So once Todd and I moved in together, I pulled myself off the list. But not everyone is as lucky as I am, and it's a scary prospect to be facing if you want to make the independent leap of living alone.

To view the original story of Harvey's attack, that was featured in the Winnipeg Free Press, click here: http

Cowards Beat Fragile Man To Death

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Previous Comments

Jodie De Ruvo from Sydney posted on 7 Oct 2011
Hi Teia, I'm so sorry about your uncle, life can be so unfair sometimes... I'm thinking of you and your family.

teia merasty from the pas manitoba posted on 6 Oct 2011
i miss my uncle so much , i hope though's people burn in hell . my uncle never'd did any thing no one he couldn't walk i dont understand !

Glen Pudney from Tahmoor posted on 25 Aug 2011
What scumbags! How could those 2 pieces of scum do this to a fragile, defenseless man whose only crime was to kindly invite them into his apartment. I think those cockroaches deserve the death penalty and they should rot in hell!

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