Sister of B.C. woman who died in care wants caregiver’s sentence appealed

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Sister of woman who died in care wants caregiver’s sentence appealed
The deadline for crown to appeal the sentence of Astrid Dahl is quickly approaching. She is the caregiver who was handed a conditional sentence to be served in the community for her role in the death of Florence Girard, a woman with Down syndrome who died of malnourishment in Dahl's care. As Catherine Urquhart reports, the victim's sister is urging crown to push for jail time – Oct 29, 2022

The sister of a B.C. woman with disabilities, who died while in care, is speaking out about the conditional sentence the caregiver received after the death.

Florence Girard weighed just 56 pounds when she died of starvation. The 54-year-old, who lived with down syndrome, was in the care of Astrid Dahl, who was recently convicted of failing to provide the necessities of life and given a conditional sentence.

Read more: B.C. caregiver guilty of failure to provide necessaries of life to woman with Down Syndrome

The victim’s sister told Global News she has written to Crown counsel asking for an appeal.

“(The) Crown hasn’t responded. Not at all. Obviously, the courts don’t care,” said Sharon Bursey, Girard’s sister. “Probation and a curfew are ridiculous. My sister starved to death ”

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Girard died at Dahl’s Port Coquitlam home in 2018.

“When our officers arrived at this call of a sudden death, there was no indication of trauma or abuse,” said Coquitlam RCMP Cpl. Michael Mclaughlin. “However, there was an indication that the victim had not received the care she required.

The official cause of death was “malnourishment and starvation.”

Read more: Caregiver accused of negligence in woman with Down syndrome’s death stands trial in B.C.

Florence Girard lived with Dahl for about eight years, part of a residential home-sharing agreement overseen by the non-profit Kinsight Community Society.

Bursey said the sentencing sends a troubling message.

“That they don’t matter,” Bursey said. “A slap on the wrist is not going to cut it now. Everyone knows there’s no deterrence, there’s no vindication for my sister or anyone else that’s in care.”

Bursey said it’s too late to save her sister, but she’s vowing to do whatever she can to prevent others from experiencing such a devastating loss.


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