Murderer Russell Williams files to have victim pay his legal bills

Steve Mertl
National Affairs Contributor
Daily Brew

Russell Williams already holds a special place in the rogue's gallery of Canadian killers.

Now he's embellished his evil reputation by trying to get money from one of his victims.

Williams, once a star officer and VIP pilot with the Canadian Armed Forces, pleaded guilty in 2010 to two counts of first-degree murder of two young women, forcible confinement and sexual assault related to two others and dozens of counts of break and enter.

The highly regarded officer, who had flown prime ministers and even the Queen, led a dark double life, breaking into dozens of homes and stealing women's underwear and other trophies. He took photos of his prizes and even modelled them. His obsession escalated to sexual assault and murder.

He's serving a life sentence in a segregated cell in Kingston Penitentiary, an easy drive from Canadian Forces Base Trenton, where he once commanded.

But the courts aren't through with Williams, who faces civil suits from victims and their families.

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Laurie Massicotte, who survived a sexual assault by Williams, is suing him and his estranged wife, Mary Elizabeth Harriman for $7 million. She and other plaintiffs claim Harriman took control of her husband's assets — mainly his share of their $700,000 Ottawa townhouse — through a bogus agreement to shield it from lawsuits.

Now Maclean's reports Williams has filed a statement of defence denying Massicotte is entitled to any compensation and that her claim "should be dismissed with costs."

Which means Williams wants Massicotte to pay his legal bills in the case.

A request for costs is pretty standard in a statement of defence, sending a message that the case is so thin the defendant should not have bear any expense at all.

But the boilerplate seems especially hurtful in the case of Massicotte.

Maclean's noted Williams broke into her home in Tweed, the community a half-hour's drive from Trenton where Williams had a nearby cottage, and attacked her in her living room. She was stripped naked with a knife, fondled and intimidated for hours and ordered to pose for photos.

Williams admits the Sept. 30, 2009, assault but in his two-page statement of defence he claims he "has no knowledge" that she feared for her life, suffered "humiliation and indignity" and now needs "extensive therapy and medical attention," Maclean's reported.

"I don't trust anyone now," Massicotte told the Toronto Sun on Thursday.

"It is now out of my hands," Massicotte told the Sun, referring to the case, adding sarcastically, "I'm just a silenced poor pathetic victim here, apparently 'trying to manipulate the justice system or something for my own agenda.' "

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Maclean's reported that unlike others suing Williams, Massicotte has no lawyer.

She is also suing the Ontario government, which has deeper pockets than Williams and his wife, alleging the Ontario Provincial Police botched the investigation.

She claims it was negligent in not alerting Tweed residents that a predator was at work after a victim known as Jane Doe was assaulted two weeks before Massicotte.

She also alleges she was mistreated by investigators, including being left naked and tied up in the early stages, called crazy over police radio and not being examined for DNA or signs of rape.

The province's lawyers claim Massicottee agreed to be "loosely bound" and covered in a blanket while the police collected forensic evidence.

Massicotte told Maclean's her life is still shattered three years after Williams' attack. She has not been able to work, has exhausted her savings and faces going on welfare.

Besides Massicotte's claim, Williams faces a $2.45-million suit from Jane Doe and a $4-million suit by the family of Jessica Lloyd, who along with Cpl. Marie-France Comeau, was killed by the former air force colonel.

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