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'He ran away and never looked back': Victim takes stand in attempted murder trial

A young Elliot Lake man is on trial for allegedly stabbing a teenage girl when he was 16
The Sault Ste. Marie Courthouse is pictured in this file photo. Michael Purvis/SooToday

The Crown’s key witness at a young Elliot Lake's man attempted murder trial told jurors that he suddenly stabbed her in the neck when he was walking her home on a March evening three years ago.

Pointing to a scar on the front of her neck, the now 20-year-old woman described her terror when he attacked her around 8:30 p.m. on March 11, 2021.

He didn't say anything when he struck her the first time, the victim testified when she took the witness stand on the second day of the trial.

"I was screaming and called a couple of times for help," she told prosecutor Eve-Marie Talbot. 

He didn't respond to her screams and offered no help.

She then felt pressure on the right side of her abdomen, was bleeding heavily and fell to the ground.

"I was stabbed a second time."

The assistant Crown attorney asked what happened next.

"He ran away and never looked back," said the woman, who was 17 at the time of the alleged offences.

"Did he do anything to help you?" Talbot asked. 

"No,” the witness replied.

The complainant began giving evidence Thursday afternoon of last week. She spent the following day answering the lawyers' questions and then returned to court Tuesday morning of this week to finish her testimony.

The accused has pleaded not guilty to three offences, including attempted murder and aggravated assault.

He also faces a charge of sexual assault stemming from incidents alleged to have occurred between Jan.1 and March 11, 2021.

At the time of the alleged incidents, he was 16 years old, which means he can't be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

A publication ban also prohibits reporting information that identifies the victim.

She told jurors she felt dizzy and nauseous following the attack, but was able to put pressure on her wounds.

"I was losing consciousness and remember taking my phone to call my dad."

The young woman said there is no doubt in her mind that it was the accused who stabbed her near a bus stop at the intersection of Axmith Avenue and Frame Crescent.

There were two ways you could go at the corner, but they always took the same route during the walk.

When she crossed the street to go that way, the accused remained at the corner.

The complainant said she ran back and asked why he wasn't coming with her.

"I wanted to go the usual route," she told the court, and so continued walking. 

"I thought he was fooling around," and then she felt "a pressure point on my neck."

The look on his face was blank, with no emotion, she said. His eyes were empty.

After she was stabbed a second time and was on the ground, she said the accused had his back towards her.

"'I observed his hand go into a pocket," she said, and he left at a "pretty fast" pace. 

During cross-cross examination, defence lawyer Eric McCooeye suggested his client had stopped and "told you he wasn't feeling well and was going to go home."

She responded: "I strongly disagree," explaining "he said he was out of breath and needed to stop so we did."

When they stopped, "he hugged me, kissed me on the forehead and said he loved me."

Then "everything happened so fast," the young woman said. 

"I didn't clearly see a weapon. I briefly had a glimpse of it and don't know what it was."

She estimated she saw about an inch of the object protruding from the accused's hand.

McCooeye suggested she had given the accused magic mushrooms that night.

"I strongly disagree that I gave shrooms to him."

She said she had tried the mushrooms once a couple of months earlier, but doesn't remember having any conversation with the accused about it.

The complainant said she called her father because she was close to home.

There was no traffic on the road, and no one had come to her aid when she was screaming.

"I knew my dad would take this seriously and I didn't think 911 would be able to respond fast enough."

During her days on the witness stand, the complainant also described numerous incidents where she said the accused had touched her inappropriately during the time they were hanging out together.

About the Author: Linda Richardson

Linda Richardson is a freelance journalist who has been covering Sault Ste. Marie's courts and other local news for more than 45 years.
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