Thirteen criminal charges have now been sworn against a Langley man who is accused of trying to kill his estranged wife and her two children by setting fire to the Willoughby area home in which they were sleeping.
Andre Harvey Richard was arrested in Fernie, B.C. on Thursday and is to appear in Surrey Provincial Court on Monday, April 7, to face three counts of attempted murder, as well as charges of arson and break and enter.
In addition, he faces four counts of assault with a weapon — involving two victims, each allegedly assaulted with two different weapons, and two counts each of assault causing bodily harm and breach of recognizance.
“This was a tragic event which, thankfully, now has a successful conclusion, said Langley RCMP Supt. Derek Cooke.
“I would like to express my thanks for the role played by the media, the general public and in particular the individual who brought Richard to police attention.”
At 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, more than 24 hours after Richard’s estranged wife, her daughter and son escaped from their burning home on Wakefield Drive, RCMP received a call of an erratic, and possibly impaired, driver near Fernie, 30 minutes from the Alberta border.
The witness followed the suspect until the vehicle — a grey Saturn SUV — came to a stop. The driver exited the vehicle and ran into bushes at the side of the road, said police.
A crisis negotiator was called to the scene and local police arrived. After some time, Richard, 44, was taken into custody without further incident.
The manhunt had begun early Wednesday morning, after it was determined that Richard wasn’t in the charred remains of the house.
The Langley man is accused of going to his wife’s home around 1 a.m. on Wednesday and setting fire to it, before entering her bedroom and assaulting her with a pair of weapons. When the couple’s 14-year-old daughter tried to intervene, police say she was also assaulted.
The three victims managed to escape the burning home and fled to a neighbour’s house, where 911 was called.
Police and Township fire crews arrived to find flames shooting through the windows and roof. The house was destroyed in the blaze.
The victims were all taken to hospital, where the mother remained in stable condition as of Friday.