Man Accused Of Attempted Decapitation With Axe Asks For Contact With Alleged Victim

Dereck Hamel appears in Caledonia Superior Court by video from a New Hampshire jail on Friday, Nov. 19, 2020. (Photo By Todd Wellington)

A New Hampshire man accused of trying to chop a woman’s head off with an axe has asked the court for permission to contact his alleged victim.

But the request was denied by Judge Michael J. Harris following a hearing in Caledonia Superior Court on Tuesday.

Dereck Hamel, 57, of Lisbon, pleaded not guilty in November of 2020 to felony 1st degree attempted murder, 1st degree aggravated domestic assault with a weapon, 1st-degree unlawful restraint, burglary into an occupied dwelling, and a misdemeanor charge of interference with access to emergency services.

Caledonia Superior Court

Hamel was then held without bail by Judge Harris and ordered to have no contact with the alleged victim in the case.

Hamel’s lawyer then filed a motion to modify the ‘no contact’ order so his client could participate by telephone at upcoming civil court proceedings with the alleged victim regarding the division of property - which is under dispute.

“There are, as I understand it, two separate cases,” said Defense Attorney Sam Swope of St. Johnsbury at Tuesday’s hearing. “One involves a truck and another involves some other property.”

But the court also heard from Caledonia County State’s Attorney Jessica Zaleski who said the telephone arrangement has already been tried and failed.

“What did happen during one of these was that no one else was on the Zoom except for (the alleged victim) and Mr. Hamel and she then was subject to having to listen to his verbal abuse until someone else came on the line to put a stop to it,” said Prosecutor Zaleski on Tuesday. “The lifting of the ‘no contact’ raises serious concerns for the state and our position is that it is absolutely atrocious to consider lifting a no-contact order between a defendant and a victim where the defendant has attempted to murder her with an axe.”

Zaleski and the alleged victim did say they might consider a plan that involves a third-party mediator but Judge Harris denied the request anyway.

“The court does at present denies the motion for a modification of the no-contact provision,” said the judge in his written decision issued Tuesday afternoon. “The court lacks information as to the manner in which the court hearing process may be conducted so to avoid inappropriate contact between Mr. Hamel and (the alleged victim) as described above.”

According to court documents, the alleged victim arrived at her Groton home on July 1, 2020, and Hamel was already there with an axe in his hand.

“He then stated, ‘I’m here to kill you,” according to state police. “Hamel gestured to (the woman) and said ‘put your head right here’ telling her to lay her head on the kitchen table. He told her that (he) loved her and said, ‘the time is now.’”

But the woman fought back by stabbing Hamel with a knife. Hamel then fled the scene on foot and the woman called 9-1-1, said police.

Hamel was later located by New Hampshire authorities at his home in Lisbon where he was taken into custody by officers from the New Hampshire Department of Corrections.

If convicted Hamel faces a possible sentence of 35 years to life in prison.

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