Ex-wife of Winnipeg man accused of sending letter bombs denies sending it herself

Ex-wife of Winnipeg man accused of sending letter bombs denies sending it herself

WINNIPEG — The ex-wife of a man accused in a mail bomb attack that left a Winnipeg lawyer severely injured has denied sending the explosive device herself to get back at him for accusing her of stealing from a business they once co-owned.

"No," Iris Amsel testified Tuesday while being cross-examined by defence lawyer Saheel Zaman. "That is not correct."

Her ex-husband, Guido Amsel, 51, faces five counts of attempted murder and other charges after a July 2015 explosion at a law firm that injured Maria Mitousis.

Mitousis lost a hand in the blast and suffered severe injuries to her face, torso and legs.

Guido Amsel is also accused of sending other letter bombs to his ex-wife's workplace and to another law firm that had represented him.

Neither bomb detonated before police found them.

Guido Amsel is also accused in a 2013 explosion outside Iris Amsel's home that caused minor damage but no injuries.

Iris Amsel told court she was upset when Guido Amsel asked for a separation and divorce in the early 2000s and when he remarried in 2005.

She also denied the defence lawyer's suggestions she was out to ruin her ex-husband's new relationship and that she took millions from a business they once jointly owned.

The pair were "almost ready" in July 2015 to finalize a business-related settlement which would have seen Guido Amsel pay her $40,000 and half the proceeds of an equipment auction, Iris Amsel testified.

A few days before the auction was to happen, the bomb that injured Mitousis — who was retained by Iris Amsel in 2010 — exploded and police found the other suspicious packages.

Shown a handwritten note police reconstructed from the Petersen King law office blast site, Iris Amsel testified the writing looked similar to her ex-husband's.

That was also true, she said, of other written materials police gathered in the case, including on a package sent to her own business that she didn't open.

"Looks identical to the other handwriting in my opinion," Iris Amsel said, but she also agreed she is not a handwriting expert.

 

James Turner, The Canadian Press