Sunday 28 May 2017

Top colonel on murder, sex attack charges

Nick Allen in Los Angeles

A Canadian Air Force commander who once flew Queen Elizabeth across the Atlantic has been charged with the murders of two women and sex attacks on two more.

But police believe that Colonel Russell Williams, who was born in Britain, may be responsible for more. Detectives are re-examining up to eight unsolved murders and dozens of sex crimes stretching back over three decades.

Col Williams (47) was the commander in charge of Canadian Forces Base Trenton, near Toronto, which is the country's largest military airbase and provides support for its operations in Afghanistan and Haiti.

The married father of four has been relieved of duty and is being kept in jail ahead of a civilian trial. He was born in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, in England, and his parents went to Birmingham University.

His family emigrated to Canada when he was four and he later embarked on a 23-year military career, spending a decade at the controls of VIP flights carrying prime ministers and others. In 2005, he flew the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh to Canada to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the provinces of Saskatchewan and Alberta.

He is charged with the murder of Corporal Marie Comeau (38), who was a flight attendant under his command on VIP military flights. She was found dead at her home near the Trenton base in November.

He is also accused of murdering Jessica Lloyd (27), a civilian bus company worker. Her body was found by a roadside near the base in February. Both women were strangled.

The two sexual assault victims were attacked in their homes last September.

Computer

They were bound with duct tape, blindfolded and tied to chairs by a masked intruder, alleged to have been Col Williams, who took photographs of them. Police are examining his computer.

Another of his alleged victims has lodged a €1.9m civil claim against him, saying she was sexually assaulted for two hours while her young daughter slept upstairs.

He also faces 82 charges of repeated break-ins at 47 homes in Toronto, Ottawa and Tweed, in Ontario. He had a cottage in Tweed, a small town near the base. Some of the break-ins were on the road where he lived.

He is alleged to have broken into one property nine times. Victims said their underwear drawers were rifled through and lingerie was stolen.

He was arrested after police carrying out a random roadblock found the tyres of his Nissan Pathfinder matched a distinctive track in the snow near one of the murder scenes.

Among the unsolved killings being reinvestigated is the 2001 rape and murder of a 19-year-old woman at the Trenton base. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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