The five most notable crimes in Hamilton in 2023

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Published December 27, 2023 at 12:00 pm

Tragically, crime is an inevitable part of life around the world. However, some always manage to stand out as notable, strange or particularly heartbreaking. As we look back on 2023, here are the most notable crimes in Hamilton this year.

Number 5: Bomb threats target transgender school teacher

This year has been marked by an alarming rise in hate crimes across the country. While most of these incidents have been on religious or racial grounds, many have targeted people in the LGBT community.

One teacher, in particular, became a frequent target for such abuse thanks to her large prosthetic breasts. Kayla Lemieux became the target of an extensive hate campaign when images of her teaching with the prosthetics on went public. This resulted in numerous protests outside her Oakville school and several threats.

Ultimately, she was moved to Nora Frances Henderson Secondary School for the 2023-2024 school year. Once news of her transfer broke, this school also became a target. It received a bomb threat shortly after the school year began on Sept. 22.

The threat accused the school and Education Ministry of  “degenerate and sexually deviant behaviour from its staff members.” The email continued, “The chickens**t coward administrators would prefer to allow pedophiles to prey upon children and expose their fetish to them than to be called a bigot…We aren’t going to stand idly by as you bastards push this woke sh*t.”

The school was evacuated and searched. No bombs were discovered even though the email claimed there were several. This threat led to a series of copycat threats to several schools, including one allegedly sent by a 13 student. No one has been charged for the threat against Henderson Secondary School. Investigators believe the threat came from “offshore.”

Number 4: Dead man found in ditch

A man was found dead in a Flamborough ditch on Dec. 7. The owner of a Mill St. home came across the body in their yard and called police shortly after 4 p.m. The address is near the Bruce Trail.

Investigators soon arrived on scene, but police are still working to piece together what happened. They have yet to identify the man two weeks after his body’s discovery.

Anyone with information pertinent to the investigation can call police at (905) 546-2389.

Number 3: Man films women working out and uploads to Pornhub

A man, Michael Mikhail, 30, was convicted of filming women working out in the gym and uploading the videos to his Pornhub account. Mikhail pled guilty to “surreptitiously making a visual recording of a person for a sexual purpose, in circumstances that gave rise to a reasonable expectation of privacy” and a fourth count of “distributing an intimate image of a former intimate partner without her consent.”

He would go a GoodLife Fitness gym to record the women exercising until March 2020 when he was caught recording an employee. He fled the gym when he was found out and uploaded the video to his account, “Mikhail Rails.”

One of Mikhail’s victims was a 17-year-old girl. Another was an ex-girlfriend. After he was caught, word spread a man had been filming women at the gym and several victims found the videos.

“The violation is unspeakable, the uneasiness is unimaginable, and the trauma is irreversible…You used my body for your own personal gain against my will and without my knowledge. You exploited me on a pornographic website to thousands of people to use for your own and their own sexual satisfaction,” one told court.

Mikhail was contrite in court and acknowledged the harm he had caused. He was sentenced to 15 months in jail and two years probation.

Number 2: Man with skeletal face tattoos skips parole

A man known for his distinct facial tattoos spent much of 2023 on the lam after he skipped his parole.

Michael Stamatakos tattoo face hamilton

Michael Stamatakos, 31, was convicted on arson, damage to property, dangerous operation of a conveyance, flight from a peace officer, uttering threat to cause death, and harm and possession of a schedule one substance charges. He received a two-year sentence and reached his statutory release early this year.

People have to check in with authorities frequently when on statutory release. However, Stamatakos failed to do so for two extended periods this year. He first became a fugitive on Feb 23 and was arrested again on March 16.

He behaved himself until Oct. 18, when he again went on the lam. This time he remained at large for a couple of months until he was found in Hamilton once more on Dec. 20. During that time, Stamatakos posted images of himself posing in front of a police car.

Previously people thought he had been caught in Oshawa. However, Durham Regional Police confirmed it was not Stamatakos.

Number 1: Two killed in hit-and-run

A Ford Flex and a Dodge Ram crashed into each other at Highland Rd. and Tapleytown Rd. around 11:30 p.m. on Nov. 25. The Flex had four occupants while the Ram carried only the driver. Two women in the Felx were killed in the crash while to men were seriously hurt.

Police found the Ram a short distance away from the crash site and arrested the driver, a 36-year-old man. He’s been charged with two counts of failure to remain at a fatal crash scene and two counts of dangerous driving causing death.

Investigators did not name the Ram driver or the occupants of the Flex. They shut down the intersection for several hours to investigate. Anyone with information about the crash can call Collision Reconstruction Unit at 905-546-4753.

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