Ottawa Sun Online: Ottawa and Region - Knives under the gun
Ottawa Sun Online: Ottawa and Region - Knives under the gun

Thursday September 21 2006

Knives under the gun

Parents of slain student push for tougher sentences in knife crimes


Paulette Moffitt and husband Rod take a moment at the plaque installed at the University of Ottawa in memory of their son Andrew who was stabbed to death in December 1998. (Sean Kilpatrick SUN)

KNIVES are no different than guns -- they both are "tools of death," says the mother of stabbing murder victim Andrew Moffitt.

Paulette Moffitt has not failed to notice that knives have been used in two major crimes making headlines this week -- the brutal attempted murder of Karen Parker who was found in Britannia Park and the slaying of Sami El-Ghazal in a parking lot.

"A knife and a gun, the only difference is that the gun makes noise. They both take lives," she said, yesterday during a dedication ceremony of a plaque to honour her son.

The Moffitt family has long advocated on behalf of tougher penalties for knife crimes. They want a 10-year minimum sentence for anyone wielding a knife while committing a violent crime and a 25-year minimum sentence for anyone convicted of murder involving a knife.


"If a gun would have been used, Andy's killer would still be in jail," she said. "He is out after serving three years of his light five-year sentence."

Andrew Moffitt, 23, was killed on Dec. 23, 1998, while at an Ottawa bar. His killer, Henry Danninger, had gone to the bar with a knife to confront a friend whom he believed had taken his drug stash.

Leeds-Grenville Tory MP Gord Brown will put forward his private member's bill this fall seeking to have mandatory minimum sentences handed down to killers who use knives.

Moffitt said politicians have to start listening to the victims and families of victims.

"We want to be treated the same as victims of guns," she said.

"Our sons deserve the same justice and the penalties should be the same."

The Moffitt family was present at the plaque unveiling held in front of the University of Ottawa's School of Information, Technology and Engineering at 800 King Edward Ave.

The plaque recounted the tragic death, but also the heroics of Moffitt whose death was brought about by his efforts to intervene in a brawl. He was posthumously honoured with the Governor General's Medal of Bravery.


Moffitt was an engineering student at the university. On the night of his death, he was celebrating the end of exams.

"I am just touched so much by it. Every person and student who walks by here will see Andy."

   Letter to the Media
   Bill C-393
   Our Angel
   Thank You
   Mike's Speech
   Memorial Speech
   Andy's Story
   Our Brother