Monday 5 December 2016

Canadian air force chief gets life sentence for sex murders

Charmaine Noronha in Belleville, Ontario

Published 22/10/2010 | 05:00

Russell Williams was a senior chief in the Canadian air force. Photo: Reuters
Russell Williams was a senior chief in the Canadian air force. Photo: Reuters

ONE of Canada's most senior air force chiefs said yesterday that he deeply regretted his "despicable crimes," moments before he was sentenced to life in prison.

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The judge also ruled out any possibility of parole after 25 years for Col Russell Williams for the murder of two women.

Williams pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree murder, two sexual assaults and 82 counts of breaking-and-entering, during which he took hundreds of undergarments from women and young girls.

Ontario judge Robert F Scott sentenced Williams after the disgraced former elite pilot tearfully addressed the court, lamenting his crimes and the pain he has caused the victims and their family and friends.

"I stand before you indescribably ashamed," Williams said, his voice cracking. "I know that the crimes I have committed have damaged many people."

Williams said he betrayed his family, friends and colleagues.

The judge said he believed that Williams was sincere in his regrets, but declared him a "sick and dangerous" man.

"Russell Williams will forever be remembered as a sado-sexual serial killer," the judge told the court. "The depths of the depravity shown by Russell Williams have no equal."

Williams pleaded guilty Monday to murdering Jessica Lloyd (27), whose body was found in February, and Marie Comeau, a 37-year-old corporal under his command, who was found dead in her home last November.

Both women had been asphyxiated.

Prosecutors spent much of the week revealing graphic evidence of the former elite military pilot's secret life at a sentencing hearing that often reduced the victims' family members to tears.

Williams took pictures of himself in the women's bedrooms, posing in their underwear, and he meticulously catalogued the photos on a hard drive and stored the undergarments in his home.

Prosecutors detailed in court how Williams raped, photographed, videotaped and killed Ms Comeau, who pleaded with Williams to "have a heart" and spare her life.

During most of the proceedings, Williams sat looking downward.

Williams was a rising star in the military before he was charged earlier this year. The charges have shocked Canadians and shaken the military to its core.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper called it a "horrific series of events" and said his thoughts were with the victims and their families as well as the Canadian military.

"Our thoughts go out to all the members of the Canadian forces who knew the commander and who have been very badly wounded and betrayed by all of this," Mr Harper said.

Lieutenant-General Andre Deschamps, chief of air staff for the Canadian military, said the military has been "deeply shaken" by Williams. "We don't understand why," he said.

Lt Gen Deschamps said they can now fire Williams and remove his medals.

Irish Independent

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