Saturday 10 December 2016

Air Force colonel used rank to stalk, rape and murder

Charmaine Noronha in Belleville, Ontario

Published 20/10/2010 | 05:00

Russell Williams, a colonel in the Canadian air force, is led away
from court earlier this week. Right: Williams would break
into the homes of his female victims and pose in their underwear
Russell Williams, a colonel in the Canadian air force, is led away from court earlier this week. Right: Williams would break into the homes of his female victims and pose in their underwear

The commander of Canada's largest air force base used his authority to get the address of a colleague he stalked, brutally raped and murdered.

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Colonel Russell Williams, who once flew prime ministers and served as a pilot to Queen Elizabeth in 2005, admitted to two charges of first-degree murder. He also admitted two sexual assaults and 82 breaking-and-entering charges during which he took lingerie belonging to teenage girls and young women.

The 47-year-old faces an automatic sentence of life in prison with no possibility of parole for at least 25 years.

At the second day of a sentencing hearing yesterday prosecutor David Thompson told how Williams raped, photographed, videotaped and killed Marie Comeau, a 37-year-old corporal.

Ms Comeau made one final plea for her life before he suffocated her, Mr Thompson said.

"Have a heart, please," Ms Comeau begged. "I've been really good. I want to live."

Mr Thompson said that Williams met Ms Comeau, his first murder victim, while she was working as a flight attendant on a military flight and discovered she lived alone.

Williams was masked for most of the attack. There was no indication from prosecutors that she knew who he was.

As her commander, he had access to her work schedule and learned that she would be away in November on a military trip. During this time, he broke into her home and searched her bedroom for underwear and bras and left her home with them.

He photographed the bedroom and images of himself modelling the undergarments.

A week later, prosecutors said he returned when he knew Ms Comeau would be home, and he brought a kit filled with items such as duct tape.

Mr Thompson said Williams entered the home, hid in the basement and waited for Ms Comeau to fall asleep before attacking her. His plan was foiled when Ms Comeau headed to the basement in search of her cat. Caught off guard, Williams, in an attempt to subdue the alarmed Ms Comeau, struck her numerous times with a flashlight to the point where she was bleeding from the head.

Tied

He then tied her up against a post using clothes and duct tape to cover her mouth and eyes, and left her while he moved around the house concealing windows and removing night lights. He returned to drag her to her bedroom where he raped her repeatedly, all while videotaping the ordeal and taking still shots of her genitals.

Until his double life came to light with his arrest earlier this year, Williams was the commander of Canada's largest Air Force base.

The charges against the elite pilot -- a tall, fit figure who did his job with quiet diligence and appeared to be in a stable marriage -- shocked the country and its military. Williams also admitted murdering Jessica Lloyd (27), whose body was found in February.

Williams also pleaded guilty to attacking two other women during separate home invasions in the Tweed, Ontario, area in 2009.

One of the women, a 21-year-old single mother, said she was tied up, blindfolded, stripped and held captive for more than two hours while he forced her into sexual acts and photographed her.

Authorities said Williams carefully catalogued the photos of himself with time and date stamps on hard drives in his Ottawa home.

Irish Independent

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