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Federal sentence imposed for vicious attack on senior at Cape Breton motel

Sheriff deputies escort Darren Joseph MacGillivary, 23, to a transport van Tuesday after he appeared in provincial court on a charge of aggravated assault in relation to the beating of a 81-year-old man. He will return to court Friday for a bail hearing.
Sheriff deputies escort Darren Joseph MacGillivary, 23, to a transport van after he appeared in provincial court in October 2018 on a charge of aggravated assault in relation to the beating of a 81-year-old man. FILE PHOTO - Contributed
SYDNEY, N.S. —

A 23-year-old Reserve Mines man who mercilessly pummeled an 81-year-old man nearly to death in a hotel parking lot last year has been sentenced to serve a federal jail sentence.

Darren Joseph MacGillivary of Neville Street pleaded guilty to a charge of aggravated assault in connection with the attack on Oct. 1, 2018, that occurred outside the Jacques Cartier Hotel on Grand Lake Road.

Police found the 81-year-old man in the parking lot and MacGillivary was arrested nearby.

The victim was transported to the Cape Breton Regional Hospital and later airlifted to hospital in Halifax and underwent surgery to reconstruct his face. The victim, who turned 82 three weeks after the attack, remains in hospital.

“You nearly killed someone Mr. MacGillivary. I don’t think you could ever afford to not stop thinking about that,” said provincial court Judge Patrick Curran, in accepting a joint Crown/defence sentencing recommendation.

MacGillivary is to serve a 33-month sentence and is banned from possessing firearms for 10 years. He was also ordered to submit DNA sample to the national registry.

A shocking piece of evidence played during the sentencing hearing was a video taken by MacGillivary on his cellphone.

The video clip shows the helpless victim, his face swollen and bloodied, attempting to get up off the ground after being beaten by MacGillivary, who also stomped on the victim’s head.

“Look what f..kin’ happens when you mess with me you piece of shit,” MacGillivary is heard telling the victim as he struggles to get up.

“F..k with my dad’s car again and look what will happen to ya,” said MacGillivary. 


“You nearly killed someone Mr. MacGillivary. I don’t think you could ever afford to not stop thinking about that.”

— Judge Patrick Curran


In an agreed statement of facts entered at the hearing, the court was told that MacGillivary and his father had checked into the hotel on Sept. 30 to celebrate the father’s recent compensation settlement.

The accused admitted consuming alcohol, nerve pills, hydromorphone and cocaine prior to the attack.

Surveillance video from the hotel shows the victim sitting on a bench adjacent to the parking lot when he gets up and walks across the parking lot to vehicles parked near the room rented by MacGillivary.

The video shows the victim, with his hands in his pockets, bending down to look at a vehicle licence plate. There was no indication he had touched the parked vehicle.

The door to the MacGillivary room was open and MacGillivary, concerned someone had attempted to break into the vehicle, appears to be shouting at the victim as he walked away. The video did not contain any audio.

The video shows the pair engaged in what appears to be a heated discussion, with MacGillivary throwing the first punch. The victim attempted to punch back but missed MacGillivary.

Another punch by MacGillivary landed the victim on the ground and as he attempted to get up, MacGillivary grabbed him by the head and kneed him in the face before pushing him back down to the ground.

MacGillivary is seen straddled over the victim and delivering multiple punches to the man’s face.

As the victim struggled to get back on his feet, unsuccessfully, MacGillivary returns to his room and then goes back over the victim and kicks him in the head. MacGillivary returns to his room but again goes back after the victim, who still can’t stand up, and again kicks him and then stomps on his head.

MacGillivary again returns to the doorway of his room and is seen smoking a cigarette. He goes back to the victim, who had fallen back to the ground after attempting to stand, and threw the lit cigarette at him.

Among his injuries, the victim suffered a brain hemorrhage, multiple rib fractures and multiple facial fractures including a broken nose.

The victim is a father of seven children and in a victim impact statement, filed by a daughter, the family reports their father still suffers nightmares from the attack along with confusion because of the brain injury.

He can only consume pureed foods as a number of teeth were knocked out and his jaw broken in several places.

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