‘Vowed myself to silence:’ Woman says she couldn’t cope after Edmonton attack

‘Vowed myself to silence:’ Woman says she couldn’t cope after Edmonton attack

‘Vowed myself to silence:’ Woman says she couldn’t cope after Edmonton attack

EDMONTON — One of five women who was sexually assaulted by a former nightclub employee says she wasn’t able to talk about the attack for four years.

“I vowed myself to silence,” she said in her victim impact statement in Court of Queen’s Bench on Thursday, the second day of Matthew McKnight’s sentencing hearing.

“I did not know how to cope.”

The woman, whose name is protected by a publication ban, said she decided to go to police when she realized there were other victims.

McKnight, 33, was charged with sexually assaulting 13 women ranging in age from 17 to 22 between 2010 and 2016 in Edmonton. He pleaded not guilty but a jury convicted him on five of the 13 counts.

The woman who gave her statement Thursday said she tried to forget about the assault, which she could barely remember after being plied with alcohol by McKnight.

“I could no longer walk, form sentences or see straight,” she said. “The very last thing I remember was being so intoxicated my vision blurred.”

She said she woke up naked in what appeared to be McKnight’s bedroom and she quickly fled.

The woman told court she was horrified to hear her attacker’s defence in court was that the night had been consensual.

“I couldn’t even walk, see or talk … let alone consensually engage in sexual activity,” she said.

“To say it was consensual and these were his typical nights, he is a danger to women.”

Court has heard McKnight met most of the victims in bars and assaulted them at his apartment.

Crown prosecutor Mark Huyser-Wierenga said Wednesday that alcohol and “something else” were used in at least three of the offences in what he dubbed “drug-facilitated” sexual assaults.

Justice Doreen Sulyma has challenged the submission that evidence of drugs had been proven in court. The Crown said one of the women only had one drink, which she testified was given to her by McKnight before she blacked out.

Two of the victims told the sentencing hearing Wednesday that they have had nightmares, thoughts of suicide and anxiety since they were attacked.

Four family members, including the sister of another victim, also provided statements to the court. The fifth victim is expected to read her statement Friday.

The Crown prosecutors have recommended consecutive sentences, which would be served one after another, because each of the five offences was separate. They asked for two terms of four years, one of 4 1/2 years and two at five years — for a total of 22 1/2 years.

Defence lawyer Dino Bottos started his sentencing submissions Thursday by focusing on his client being assaulted in the Edmonton Remand Centre while he awaited bail.

He put McKnight back on the stand to testify about the assault.

“I was outside the cell and I was on the phone with my dad and (my cellmate) came into the room. He was barechested and he hung up the phone call I was on,” McKnight said. “He was agitated and called me ‘skinner’ and a rapist.”

A four-minute video from a camera in the remand centre showed McKnight being punched, falling to the ground and getting kicked multiple times by the man. There’s blood visible on the floor in the video.

McKnight said he blacked out before the man was taken away by a guard. Several other guards were shown in the video gathering around McKnight and restraining him. He was then led away by guards in handcuffs and a spit mask.

They later took him to hospital, said McKnight.

He said he’s worried for his safety when he goes to prison.

“It’s going to be a very dangerous time and I am just hoping to survive it,” said McKnight.

Bottos is to continue his sentencing submissions Friday when he’s expected to ask for a reduced sentence due to the assault.

It’s expected to be the final day of the hearing.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 9, 2020

Colette Derworiz, The Canadian Press

crime

Just Posted

(Advocate file photo)
Red Deer down to 102 active COVID-19 cases

Central zone has 332 cases with 26 in hospital and five in ICU

Storm clouds gathered in Mulhurst, Alta., just before noon June 15, 2021. Photo/ Dan Moster.
Areas of County of Wetaskiwin remain under severe thunderstorm watch

Environment Canada has issued a severe thunderstorm watch for areas of the County.

Maskwacis Pride crosswalk (Left to right): Montana First Nation Councillor Reggie Rabbit, Samson Cree Nation Councillor Louise Omeasoo, Samson Cree Nation Councillor Katherine Swampy, Samson Cree Nation Councillor Shannon Buffalo, Samson Cree Nation Chief Vern Saddleback.
Pride in Maskwacis

The 4th inaugural Maskwacis Pride crosswalk painting took place on Saturday June 12th, 2021

The Government of Alberta identified 115 new COVID-19 cases Sunday, bringing the provincial total to 3,089.
(Black Press file photo)
Red Deer COVID cases continue to fall

114 cases in Red Deer, down one from Saturday

Manluk Centre/ Impress
Manluk Centre re-opens to the public

Drop in and registered programs will be available; one-third facility capacity to be followed.

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

A worker, at left, tends to a customer at a cosmetics shop amid the COVID-19 pandemic Thursday, May 20, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Half of cosmetics sold in Canada, U.S. contain toxic chemicals: study

Researchers found that 56% of foundations and eye products contain high levels of fluorine

Annamie Paul, leader of the Green Party of Canada, speaks at a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, on June 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Green Leader Annamie Paul facing no-confidence motion from party brass

move follows months of internal strife and the defection of MP Jenica Atwin to the Liberals

Tulips bloom in front of the Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa, Thursday, May 10, 2018. Day two of a full week of scheduled hearings will be heard in Federal Court today on a case involving Indigenous children unnecessarily taken into foster care by what all parties call Canada’s “broken child welfare system.” THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
AFN slams Ottawa for ‘heartless’ legal challenge of First Nations child compensation

2019 decision awarded $40,000 to each Indigenous child removed before 2006

A health-care worker holds up a sign signalling she needs more COVID-19 vaccines at the ‘hockey hub’ mass vaccination facility at the CAA Centre during the COVID-19 pandemic in Brampton, Ont., on Friday, June 4, 2021. This NHL-sized hockey rink is one of CanadaÕs largest vaccination centres. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
‘Vaxxed to the max’: Feds launch Ask an Expert campaign to encourage COVID shots

Survey shows that confidence in vaccines has risen this spring

Children’s shoes and flowers are shown after being placed outside the Ontario legislature in Toronto on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Ontario commits $10 million to investigate burial sites at residential schools

Truth and Reconciliation Commission identified 12 locations of unmarked burial sites in Ontario

Two hundred and fifteen lights are placed on the lawn outside the Residential School in Kamloops, B.C., Saturday, June, 13, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former Kamloops Indian Residential School earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Days after Kamloops remains discovery, Tk’emlups families gather to unite, move ahead

‘We have to work together because this is going to be setting a precedent for the rest of the country’

In this Saturday, May 29, 2021, file photo, people crowd the Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica, Calif. California, the first state in America to put in place a coronavirus lockdown, is now turning a page on the pandemic. Most of California’s coronavirus restrictions will disappear Tuesday, June 15, 2021. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)
With COVID tamed, it’s a ‘grand reopening’ in California

No more state rules on social distancing, no more limits on capacity, no more mandatory masks

Most Read