Volume 92, Issue 62

Tuesday, January 19, 1999


NEWS

Prolonging the stay

Student BOG member resigns

Stabbings incite police concern, safety review

Grad studies to see bursary boost

Adding confusion in CentreSpot

Sales low despite high cost prizes

A quickie primer on aphrodisiacs

Caught on campus

Caught on campus too

Stabbings incite police concern, safety review

By Becky Somerville
Gazette Staff

The occurrence of two stabbings this weekend has left two men in hospital and has prompted London police to take action.

Jeremy Beebe, a first-year Fanshawe College student, is listed in serious condition at the Victoria Campus of the London Health Sciences Centre after being knifed in the chest at 2:37 a.m. on Saturday near the corner of Richmond and York streets.

Another victim of the stabbing, Michael Goldie-Ryder, is in critical condition at the same hospital. Two men have been charged in the assault, said Sgt. John O'Flaherty of the London police.

The attack is the most recent in a sequence of assaults involving knives or edged weapons, O'Flaherty said. He added the proliferation, which cannot be explained, has been particularly concentrated in the Richmond and York area, near Ichabods Nite Club and Rickies On The Rox.

"The downtown, other than that area, is a safe place to be," O'Flaherty said. "There's weapons and there's testosterone and there's booze. You put it altogether and there's trouble."

London police have been increasing officers to the area during closing time for the bars, however with the high density of people, sometimes it is a difficult spot to monitor, he said.

Since Jan. 1, O'Flaherty said, there have been nine incidences of assault using a knife or edged weapon. Five of these attacks have occurred in the Richmond and York streets vicinity.

To remedy the problem, London police will be increasing its presence in the area, O'Flaherty said. "We're taking a no-nonsense attitude."

Sid Maddaoui, manager of Ichabods, said with the increase of violence, his bar will resume the use of a metal detector as well as check any gym bags which come through the door.

"Every bar owner should use a metal detector," he said. "If everybody works together we won't have any problems."

Ward 2 councillor Joe Swan, also the chair of a city hall committee recommending ways to revitalize downtown, said this sporadic violence will not deter people away from the core. "I'm very cautious about people saying the entire downtown is unsafe.

"[The stabbings occurred] Saturday night at 2 a.m., not when public safety is at risk," Swan said.

Both O'Flaherty and Swan said London police, the city and downtown bar-owners will meet Thursday at a forum to discuss safety in the core area. "We're fully prepared to make sure the downtown is safe."

Swan said the city does not have the authority to legislate the mandatory use of metal detectors at downtown bars. "At least from a municipal perspective it would have to be voluntary."

Although most of the stabbings have occurred outside of the bars, Swan said safety is a joint responsibility and bar owners have to be cautious and prudent when they serve alcohol.

Beebe said he was recovering in the hospital after suffering a stab wound to the chest and damage to his lungs and liver. "I was totally surprised by everything that happened that night."




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Copyright The Gazette 1999