Surrey mother attacked outside rec centre dies of her injuries

Video: A tragic end to 2013 for family and friends of a much-loved Surrey woman. Rumina Daya has more on the victim Julie Paskall.

SURREY, B.C. – The victim of a fatal attack in Surrey identified as Julie Paskall has succumbed to her injuries.

The 53-year-old Surrey mother of three was viciously attacked outside the Newton Wave Pool and Recreation Centre Sunday night. Paskall’s injuries were so severe, she was put on life support at Surrey Memorial Hospital. RCMP say Paskall was found unconscious with serious injuries in the parking lot outside the Newton Arena at 7120 136B Street.

Paskall’s husband, Alfred, and her three children – son, Cailean and two daughters, Stacey and Rhiannon, were by her side at the hospital.

The Surrey Minor Hockey Association president told Global News the victim was picking up her son, who was refereeing a game at a hockey tournament, when she was attacked. No one from the tournament saw or heard anything. Paskall was a long-time volunteer and time keeper. There were a lot of people around at the time of the incident.

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Mark O’Neill, Cailean’s conditioning coach for hockey, says Paskall is a good friend and that the family is “extremely tight.”

“Cailean was refereeing a young group of kids who wouldn’t be able to play too late,” O’Neill told Global News. “His mother was picking him up and then he sees her being put in an ambulance.”

“This lady is genuinely the sweetest, kindest woman you’d ever met.”

The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team took over the investigation on Monday morning. Police say this attack has similarities to an assault on a female that occurred in the same area on December 16. However at this time IHIT said the motive for this unprovoked attack remains robbery.

READ MORE: Surrey RCMP issue warning after similar attack on woman in Newton 2 weeks ago

Rob Gordon, Criminologist at the University of the Fraser Valley, says the increasing number of homicides in Surrey in recent years is bucking a national trend.

“It’s opposite to the general trend in Canada, and crime has been dropping significantly in places like B.C.,” says Gordon.

He says it’s extremely rare for an innocent person to be killed.

“A completely innocent victim is very tragic, and very rare — even though there’s been 25 homicides in Surrey — that’s very rare as well,” says Gordon.

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Surrey has had 25 homicides this year, while Vancouver has only had six — the lowest total in nine years.

Gordon says it’s possible that Vancouver’s crackdown on gangs may be pushing problems to Surrey.

“Vancouver, much like Surrey, has had a concerted effort to reduce gangs — has Vancouver displaced their gang members to other places?”

IHIT is asking anyone with information on who was in the area of the Newton Arena, Newton bus loop and the Newton Wave pool between 7:00 – 11:00 p.m. on December 29 and may have seen any suspicious activities, persons or vehicle to call the tipline at 1-877-551-4448.

Video: Watch the full Surrey police press conference on Newton assault

Video: News Hour Final report

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