WINNIPEG — A teenager who was beaten, sexually assaulted and forced into a Winnipeg river told her attacker Tuesday she continues to suffer the physical and emotional pain of an attack that almost claimed her life.
The girl, who cannot be identified under a court order, wrote a one-page victim impact statement for the sentencing hearing of Justin Hudson, 22, who pleaded guilty last December to two counts of aggravated sexual assault.
"I remember only parts of it. Dark. Cold. Pain," the statement reads.
"I am a real person. A human being. And you hurt me terribly, an injustice for which you are now paying the consequence."
The girl ended up in the Assiniboine River, but managed to drag herself from the water 100 metres downstream — only to be beaten unconscious with a hammer and left for dead.
A teenage boy was also charged in the attack. His case remains before the courts.
The victim, who was 16 at the time of the November 2014 attack, almost froze to death on the banks of the river. She was found the next morning by a passerby. She was taken to hospital and her heart stopped for 45 minutes. She went on to become an advocate for a national inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women.
"When I regained consciousness, my entire body was screaming with pain. More pain than I have ever known or thought possible. It was you who did that to me, through your wilful actions and decisions," her statements reads.
"I feel sad. Angry, confused. It's more than those words can possibly convey. The pain is a heavy weight for me to carry."
Hudson is also to be sentenced for another attack later that night on a 23-year-old woman. She was also sexually assaulted and severely beaten, and spent three days in hospital with a concussion and severe facial injuries.
"I don't like to be out after dark anymore. When I am, I have to be on the phone talking with someone until I am safe at home," the women's statement reads.
Crown attorney Debbie Buors told court she will seek a life sentence with no parole eligibility for at least seven years when the hearing continues in December.
Hudson has been in custody since his arrest, so with credit for time served, he could be on parole in as little as four years under Buors's recommendation.
The defence has yet to reveal what sentence it will seek.
Buors produced a report from a psychologist who examined Hudson and found him to display very anti-social traits and to be a high risk for further violence. The two victims were strangers to Hudson — not unusual for Hudson, the psychologist report states.
"Mr. Hudson described an escalation in his aggressive behaviour ... including violent attacks against strangers. Acting in this way has been a means for Mr. Hudson to relieve his anger and feel momentarily powerful in a world where he feels helpless and without agency," the report states.
Hudson was born on the Berens River First Nation, did not know his father and was neglected and abused by his mother, according to the report.
He told the psychologist he was sexually abused by another relative, bounced between several homes and was in the child welfare system. He struggled in school and has a sparse work history.
Buors said despite Hudson's harsh childhood, the public needs to be protected from him.
"Society failed Mr. Hudson ... but he is who he is now."