Warning: This story contains gruesome details that may be distressing to some readers.
A Vancouver man has been sentenced to 15 years in prison after pleading guilty to manslaughter in B.C. Supreme Court.
With time served, Rajesh Narayan will serve 12 years and four months for the May 22, 2021 death of Richard Hooper, 59.
The sentence, delivered by Justice Catherine Wedge Feb. 28, angered brother Robert Hooper, who sat on the edge of his seat, tears running down his face.
‘Twelve years for my brother’s f***ng life,” he said as he rose and left the courtroom, a deputy sheriff following.
Those in court could hear him say from the hallway, “My hands are still going to get him, boy,” as he left.
The attack with a meat cleaver left Hooper with 15 injuries to his head, neck, torso and extremities. He also had defensive wounds.
Wedge called the killing “an extremely egregious act” on a “completely innocent victim.” The injuries, she said, were “indescribable.”
Crown prosecutor Brendan McCabe told Wedge much remains unknown about the circumstances of the offence, which he described as “extreme violence.”
“There’s a large question mark hanging over the offence itself,” McCabe said.
What is known, he said, is that Narayan had been suffering from paranoid delusions — mental health concerns that had manifested themselves through multiple interactions with police and health-care workers in the days leading up to Hooper’s death.
Narayan had been certified under the Mental Health Act at one point but later discharged, the court heard. He had been calling police about assassins and officers confirmed he had been using cocaine at one point.
The court heard Narayan had been texting a co-worker about executions and reporting that his sister had been killed. He also believed shapeshifters and helicopters were chasing him.
On the night of May 21, Narayan and Hooper had been sitting on the front steps of Narayan’s family home; 911 was called when someone heard loud chopping sounds. When police arrived, they found Narayan holding a cleaver over his head.
After being arrested, Narayan told police, “He had a chip in his brain. It was for the greater good.”
The cleaver was described as having a 10.5-inch blade and a 6.5-inch handle.
Hooper was taken to hospital with “catastrophic injuries,” McCabe said. He died in the intensive care unit two days after the attack. McCabe said it was unclear in what order the injuries occurred.
“We just don’t know what led to this killing,” he said.
The court heard victim impacts statements from the Hooper family.
Robert Hooper said he missed his older brother every day.
“I have so many good memories of my brother. I will never understand what happened,” he said.
Defence lawyer Matthew Nathanson said Narayan has no record of violence and has shown no problems during his time in custody.
He called the death an “isolated incident.”
Nathanson said his client is remorseful, saying the guilty plea and acceptance of responsibility is part of that remorse.