Surviving Colonel Williams

EXCLUSIVE: Laurie Massicotte describes the hours of hell she endured at his hands


Jerome Lessard/QMI Agency /Donald Weber/VII Network/ Alex tavshunsky/CP

Laurie Massicotte watches the same two television programs before bed: Law & Order at 11 p.m., and Without a Trace at midnight. On that Tuesday evening last September, she followed her typical routine, curling up on the living room couch with an apple, the remote control, and one of her daughters’ old Barbie blankets. Within 15 minutes, she was fast asleep. “It was a busy day,” she says now, one year later. “I spent most of it cleaning: bringing in pots from the yard, rearranging furniture in the basement. I was exhausted.”

When she woke up in the wee hours of Wednesday morning, Massicotte remembers two specific things: hearing the theme song for the final credits of Without a Trace, and being smothered under her blanket as someone on the other side delivered punch after punch to her face. In those first few seconds, the 46-year-old was so disoriented and so short of breath that she assumed the house was on fire, and that thick smoke had filled her eyes and lungs. She soon realized the terrifying truth. “Shhh,” said the intruder, in between blows to the head. “I need you to be quiet.”

What transpired over the next 3½ hours was pure terror. Home alone, Massicotte was blindfolded, shackled, stripped naked with the sharp edge of a knife, and forced to pose for dozens of unthinkable photographs before the stranger in her house finally fled. Every time he ordered her to sit this way or lean that way, his threat was the same: “Don’t make me make you.”

“I thought he was going to kill me at any given moment,” she says. “It was just like a horror movie, and I didn’t know what was going to happen in the next scene.” The scene five months later was almost as sickening. In February, two detectives from the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) visited Massicotte’s home in Tweed, a small eastern Ontario town just north of Belleville. “It’s all over,” one of them told her. “We’ve caught the person who did this to you, and he has confessed.”

Three doors away, Massicotte could see yellow police tape wrapped around the property. The man who lived there—Col. Russell Williams, the 46-year-old commander of Canadian Forces Base Trenton—was already locked in a jail cell, his alleged double life finally revealed. “I couldn’t comprehend any of it,” she says. “I was in total shock.”

An elite officer with a spotless record—a gifted pilot who escorted prime ministers and the Queen, and was hand-picked by military brass to lead Canada’s largest and busiest air force base—was suddenly an accused predator. His charge sheet paints a chilling portrait of a meticulous, relentless stalker who, despite the heavy demands of his high-profile job, found ample time to feed his perversion. If police are correct, the disgraced colonel committed dozens of burglaries, stole hundreds of pieces of lingerie, attacked two women inside their homes—one of them Laurie Massicotte—and murdered two others: Marie-France Comeau, a 38-year-old corporal stationed at his base, and Jessica Lloyd, 27.

Williams has waived his right to a preliminary hearing and will be back in court Oct. 7, when lawyers are expected to discuss the timing of his eventual trial. Massicotte hopes to be in the gallery that day. “It’s going to be difficult, but I want to have the strength to be able to do it,” she says. “I know he can’t do anything to me now.”

In the meantime, Massicotte has found the strength to do something else she has long dreaded: show her face, reveal her name, and tell her story. Until now, in a series of exclusive interviews with Maclean’s, the mother of three has never spoken publicly about the hell she endured that morning—or the nightmare she has lived ever since. “I need to be able to do this in order to move on with my life,” she tells Maclean’s, sitting in a restaurant not far from her home. “I’ve been trapped for so long, and now finally I can tell the truth. I hope people can appreciate the truth, even Russ Williams.”

Like so many victims of sexual assault, Massicotte’s ordeal did not end on Sept. 30, 2009, when the stranger in her living room snapped his last photo and climbed out a window. She has spent countless hours in therapy, grappled with survivor’s guilt, and assumed, in those early days, that everyone in town was a suspect. She despises Williams, prays that he spends the rest of his life behind bars, and hopes to sue him in civil court. Yet for reasons that even she can’t explain, Massicotte says she has found it in her heart to somehow forgive him. “I can’t put it into words. It’s between me and him. He let me live.”

In fact, Massicotte saves her harshest words for the police, convinced that the cops could have done more to stop her attacker before he climbed through her window. Hours after her assault, an OPP investigator told her what is now a well-known fact. “He said: ‘Laurie, we have a confession to make,’ ” she recalls. “ ‘Apparently, 12 days ago this same situation happened to a girl just down the road from you. We’re really sorry we didn’t get it out to the public, but I can tell you right now we’re putting out a release and it will be on tomorrow’s news.’ ”

For Laurie Massicotte, the OPP “safety alert” came a day too late.

Col. Williams and his wife, Mary-Elizabeth Harriman, purchased their Tweed cottage in the summer of 2004. The following year, in December 2005, Williams was given the top job at Camp Mirage, the Canadian military’s secret forward logistics base in the Middle East. Deployed for six months, he missed the annual neighbourhood Christmas party. Laurie Massicotte was there, chatting with fellow residents of Cosy Cove Lane, a picturesque strip of waterfront homes overlooking Stoco Lake. A friend introduced her to Harriman. “I talked to her for a minute,” she recalls. “She said her husband was overseas.” Other than that, Massicotte doesn’t remember having any contact with the couple three doors down. “I never knew him,” she says.

Unlike most on Cosy Cove, Williams and Harriman were not permanent fixtures; the cottage was a part-time getaway, not a full-time home. But after he returned from Mirage in the summer of 2006 and was reassigned to National Defence headquarters, Williams and his wife spent as much time as they could in Tweed, an easy two-hour drive from their house in the Ottawa suburb of Orléans.

It wasn’t long before the bizarre break-ins began.

In the fall of 2007, three properties within walking distance of Williams’s cottage were burglarized, including the house directly next door—twice. By 2008, the pace intensified. In March, two different homes were broken into on the same Friday night. A week later, Williams allegedly struck again, this time sneaking into a home on nearby Charles Court that would become his favourite target. According to authorities, he would return to that same address eight more times.

In most cases, the Tweed victims had no idea that a man was even in their house. The culprit was so professional—and usually stole only a small amount of items—that the bulk of his crimes went unnoticed at the time.

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Back in Orléans, a late-night prowler was also at work—but the heists were bolder and bigger. One home was hit three times. Six were hit twice, typically on back-to-back days. One woman who lived on the same street as Williams and Harriman came home to find her underwear drawer—and her daughter’s—completely empty. She immediately phoned 911.

On Halloween day 2008, police in Ottawa were concerned enough to issue a news release about the “peculiar” underwear break-ins, warning the public “to be vigilant and ensure that they secure their home at all times.” Nothing changed. By the summer of 2009, when Williams was sworn in as wing commander of CFB Trenton, he had allegedly committed four dozen home invasions in Tweed and Ottawa, each time adding to his twisted collection of stolen bras, panties, bathing suits and dresses.

Despite the pressure and the long hours, the Trenton job offered Williams even more freedom to pursue his dark fetish. On weekdays, his wife remained in Ottawa, where she works as a senior executive at the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. He stayed alone at the cottage, commuting the half-hour to work every morning along Highway 37, the rural road that connects Tweed to the air base. The couple would meet on weekends, either in the city or at the cottage. During his first two months as Trenton’s top man, Williams allegedly got away with 10 more home invasions, including a seventh, eighth and ninth visit to that favourite location on Charles Court. Like all the others, nobody was hurt. The thief was in and out, and left with exactly what he came for.

But for reasons that remain unexplained, the rash of break-ins was about to take a sudden violent turn. On Sept. 16, 2009, a Wednesday, the colonel arrived home from a two-day visit to Nunavut. Early the next morning, according to police, he snuck into a house just a short walk from his, where a 21-year-old woman was alone with her newborn daughter. She was immediately tied up, blindfolded, sexually assaulted, and warned that if she didn’t co-operate, she and her baby would die. The intruder took repeated photos of the woman’s naked body before fleeing the scene.

Astonishingly, authorities now claim that Williams returned to that same house two more times in the days after the assault, searching for keepsakes.

The victim, whose name is protected by a publication ban, is now suing Williams—and his wife—for $2.45 million for the “harsh, vindictive, malicious, horrific and reprehensible” assault. At the heart of her lawsuit is a claim that Harriman “fraudulently” acquired her husband’s share of their Ottawa home six weeks after his arrest in a “secret” deal to shield his assets. Harriman denies the allegation, saying in court documents that she was “devastated” by the arrest and that she, too, is “a victim.” (Last week, Williams hired his own lawyer to defend the lawsuit, which is separate from his criminal case.)

Although the civil case has since triggered hundreds of headlines, the assault itself received no attention at the time. The victim rented the house, had only lived in the area for a brief time, and moved away right after the attack. Most neighbours didn’t even hear about it—and the provincial police chose to keep it that way. Local residents, including Laurie Massicotte, were never warned that a potential predator was on the loose.

Days later, she was under that white and purple Barbie blanket, gasping for air.

Massicotte has lived on Cosy Cove Lane for more than a decade, moving there in 1999 with her husband and three daughters from a previous marriage. Once an accountant at a manufacturing company in Belleville, she stopped working to become a homemaker. “I would never raise my kids anywhere else,” she says of her now-infamous neighbourhood. “It was so safe.”

On the morning of her attack, Massicotte was living alone. She and her husband separated a few years ago, and her daughters, now finished high school, moved back in with their father. Col. Williams, who could see Massicotte’s front door from his, would have known who lived there.

Like the first victim, Massicotte never laid eyes on her assailant. As he punched her in the head, and then wrenched his arm around her neck, he made sure the blanket stayed over her face. “He said: ‘There are others in the house and I want you to keep quiet,’ ” Massicotte tells Maclean’s. “ ‘You are being cleaned out, and it’s my job to control you.’ ”

The man peppered her with questions: Does anyone else live here? Who showed up last night? What’s your name? For what seemed like 20 minutes, he refused to loosen his grip on her throat, squeezing so hard that she peed herself. “They can take whatever they want,” she pleaded, assuming the robbery ruse was true. “Please just let me live.”

Eventually, the man let go—but only so he could tie her up. After making sure the blanket was still shielding her face, the burglar grabbed a nearby body pillow (which was covered in Winnie the Pooh characters) and sliced off two pieces of material. He used one shred as a blindfold, reaching under the blanket to wrap it around her eyes. He used the other to shackle her wrists behind her back.

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“Are you looking at me?” he barked at one point.

“Oh God, no,” she answered.

“You don’t want to see me,” he said.

At first, Massicotte believed that a gang of thieves was really inside her house. The man kept leaving to “check on the others,” and when she later worked up the nerve to ask for a cigarette, he refused, insisting that “they” wouldn’t approve. Over and over, Massicotte asked why he was doing this. His response was always the same: It has to be done.

Looking back, she is convinced that the intruder was conflicted, as if part of him didn’t want to be there. “He knew it was wrong,” she says. “I know he struggled with it.”

He called her Laurie. He never swore. He told her she was a “nice lady” with a “nice house,” and apologized for hitting her so many times. He even agreed to fetch her two aspirins from the medicine cabinet. (But he would not go so far as to fill her mug with water, clearly fearful of leaving a fingerprint. Instead, he escorted his hostage to the bathroom and—with her hands still tied behind her back—made her turn on the tap.)

After being led back to the couch, Massicotte’s wrists were throbbing. She asked the man to consider tying her hands in front of her body instead of behind, but he said no, once again blaming it on “the others.”

He had another idea.

The intruder walked to a bedroom and returned with another pillowcase. Still unable to see a thing, Massicotte listened as he used a knife or a pair of scissors to transform the sheet into a straightjacket of sorts. When he finished, he reached for the knot around her wrists. “Be still,” he said. “Because I don’t want to cut you—or me.” He then slipped his homemade harness over Massicotte’s head. Her hands were now free, but her arms were cinched to her torso, like someone in the clutches of a bear hug. She could feel the man’s fingers fiddling with her blond hair.

“Would it be alright if I took a picture of you?” he asked.

Suddenly, Massicotte was as confused as she was petrified. As far as she knew, this was still a robbery. “Why do you need a picture?” she asked.

“So that you know we have pictures of you,” he answered.

Moments later, she could hear the click of a digital camera. After a few shots, the man spoke again. “He said: ‘I just want to get one picture with your top pulled up,’ ” she recalls. “So he pulls up my top and takes a picture of me in my bra and my harness. He took three or four, just standing right in front of me.” When the flashes stopped, Massicotte felt a hand reaching underneath her bra. “Please don’t do this,” she begged. He stopped, but only briefly. “He said: ‘You have nice breasts.’ I said: ‘No, I don’t, please don’t do this.’ And again he pulled his hand out right away.”

The next thing Massicotte remembers was the tip of a knife at her neck—and a single slice cutting open her T-shirt and her bra. “He starts roaming around me, taking pictures from all different angles,” she says. “And then he takes the knife and holds it to my pajama bottoms.” Terrified of the blade, she frantically pulled her pants down before the man had a chance to cut them off.

Naked and humiliated, Massicotte struggled to cover herself as best she could, the camera clicking yet again. When he ordered her to put one leg on the couch, she tried in vain to change his mind. “I’m just shaking, saying I can’t, and he’s saying: ‘Yes you can.’ It took him a long time to pry my hands away, but he did it. He finally just said: ‘I need you to move your hands. Don’t make me do it.’ ”

His last demand was the scariest. “He said: ‘The others are just about done, and there is one more thing I need you to do,’ ” Massicotte says, tears in her eyes. “ ‘I need you to get up on your hands and knees, bend over, and put your head on the headrest of the couch.’ All that was going through my mind was: as soon as I bend over, gun in the back of the head.”

She pleaded with him to stop, but it was no use. “I was shaking like a leaf,” she says. “I even told him: ‘You’re going to shoot me in the back of the head.’ He said: ‘Laurie, I told you I don’t have a gun. I am not going to kill you. You are doing good, stay calm, it’s almost over.’ ”

For once, the intruder was telling the truth. After one last snapshot, he covered her up with the Barbie blanket and promised her he was going to leave—as soon as he wiped down the coffee mug that he used to feed her those aspirins. Still convinced she was about to die, Massicotte tried to be helpful, suggesting that he also clean the pill bottle. “Good thinking,” he answered.

And then he vanished.

Later that morning, as police cruisers surrounded Massicotte’s house, Williams walked out of his cottage and headed to work. On his way to the car, he asked one of the neighbours what all the commotion was about.

For Massicotte, the next few months were indescribable. She installed an alarm system and bought a German shepherd, but she was livid at the OPP for not warning the neighbourhood after the first assault. She also found herself at the centre of incessant rumours, the kind that tend to swirl in tiny towns like Tweed. Everyone knew she was the victim, but the facts quickly got lost in the frenzy. Some people said she had been brutally raped. Others questioned her sanity, saying the cops didn’t believe a word she said.

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In the meantime, Massicotte became obsessed with solving the case herself—and in her eyes, everyone was a suspect. “It didn’t matter who it was,” she says. “Good people. Bad people. I was running out onto the street attacking hydro workers. ‘What the hell are you doing here?! Were you the one?!’ It wasn’t pretty.”

A few weeks after the attack, Massicotte went so far as to tell detectives that she suddenly recognized the voice in her living room: Larry Jones, another neighbour. Investigators later searched his house for clues, but came up empty—a further blow to her already frosty relationship with police. (Massicotte and Jones have since reconciled. “I never had a beef with Larry,” she says.)

Some days, Massicotte spent hours just staring out her window, praying for a clue. “You’ve lost your purpose,” she says. “Your world is upside down. You can’t sleep at night. You have nightmares. You keep going over everything, asking yourself if there is something you could have done to prevent this.” While she racked her brain, her alleged attacker struck again.

In November, police say Williams broke into a home in nearby Brighton, Ont., and killed Cpl. Marie-France Comeau. Days later, he wrote a personal letter to her grieving family, expressing his “sincere condolences.” (A few days after that, when a subordinate emailed the colonel to say Comeau’s military funeral was conducted “with the utmost professionalism,” Williams wrote back: “I’m pleased to hear that the service went as well as could be expected, given the very sad circumstances.”)

Jessica Lloyd was next. She was last heard from on the evening of Jan. 28, when she texted a friend from her home on Highway 37, the same road Williams took to work. A week later, during a roadside check of every car driving along Highway 37, an officer noticed that Williams’s tires matched a unique set of treads left near Lloyd’s home on the night she disappeared. Interrogated for hours, Williams reportedly confessed to everything.

The day the charges were announced, Massicotte listened to the police press conference on the radio. Two counts of first-degree murder. Two counts of sexual assault. Three months later, after investigators combed through Williams’s belongings, he was charged with 82 more counts linked to the lingerie break-ins. That’s when Massicotte learned another horrifying truth: in the days before she was tied up, Williams allegedly broke into her house two other times.

“Staying in my home now, it’s not easy,” she says. “But it would be worse if I left, if I ran from it.”

On Sept. 30, Laurie Massicotte will mark a gruelling anniversary. Over the past 12 months she has battled every possible emotion, from fear to betrayal to guilt. Even now, as she shares her story for the first time, she is careful not to disrespect the other families. “I would never want to offend the Lloyds or the Comeaus by speaking about my experience,” she says. “How can those people listen to this when their daughter is dead?”

But Massicotte is a victim, too, and she says she can’t begin to heal until her story is told. She is not looking for fame or pity. If she wanted the spotlight, she could have grabbed it a long time ago, when the reporters first invaded Cosy Cove. “Getting my story out now is my way of finally facing it, regardless of what other people want to tell me about what I should be doing,” Massicotte says. “So many people want me to shut up. The Crown doesn’t want me to say a word, and the police, of course, don’t want me to go on and on about their mistakes. They have not apologized. They don’t care.”

Col. Williams has not apologized, either. He hasn’t said a single word since his arrest, and despite previous reports about a plea bargain, all signs are pointing to a long, drawn-out trial. Yet Massicotte insists that she does forgive him. “Deep down inside, I will never forget,” she says. “But forgiveness is how I am going to move on. That is the only way.”

It is difficult to imagine how someone in Massicotte’s shoes can forgive her attacker, but not the police—who may or may not have done anything wrong. So many months later, even she can’t find the right words to explain it. “It is so hard to describe,” she says. “Nobody will understand, but it doesn’t really matter. As long as I understand.”

Maybe she felt pity for the man in her living room, sensing his sickness. Or maybe she is just grateful to be alive, knowing that two other women suffered a far worse fate. “There are no coincidences in this life,” Massicotte says. “And he let me live.”

Today, Massicotte is trying her best to focus on the future, not the past. She is a deeply spiritual woman, and believes in the old adage that God only gives people what they can handle. And as much as she wants to find a lawyer who can help her sue Williams—and perhaps the OPP—she is more anxious to prove to herself, and others, that her world wasn’t completely destroyed that morning. “Even my best friends, they don’t want to talk about it because they don’t know how to talk about it,” she says. “People look at me now like I’m this freak, and I want to tell them that I’m okay with everything. I don’t want people to walk on eggshells anymore.”

She wants something else, too. “I just hope when this is all over and done with, the township buys that cottage and tears it down,” she says. “I don’t think it should remain as a reminder of what happened there.”

And what happened three doors down.

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Surviving Colonel Williams

  1. For some reason Laurie, I can understand how you are feeling – about forgiving, about ppl looking at you like you're a freak. It's something only you can understand. You would almost want to like or feel sorry for him if you didn't know how sick and dangerous he was. But if you didn't forgive him you wouldn't be able to move on. It's just too bad he couldn't have let everyone alive and the biggest question for everyone is just WHY….

  2. To Laurie: I am so sorry you went through this.

    To the author: since when are break-ins "home invasions?" Since they sound worse? I thought a home invasion is when people break into a home when the people are at home, and brutalize them somehow. Laurie's story is harrowing and horrible enough in her own words: there's no need to dress it up.

  3. I live in the area and I have wondered why why why were we not made aware of a predator in the area??? I too blame the OPP and their half-hearted regard for our safety. It cost two women their peace of mind and dignity and two women their lives. It is the responsibility of the police to infom the people they serve and they failed to do so.

  4. Home invasions do not necessarily mean people who are home are brutalized or harmed; home invasions are break ins when someone IS home.

    • And so, as I pointed out, the author is using the term when people are not at home, which is a B&E. Right? And what he did when the women WERE home is far beyond a home invasion — it's rape; it's murder.

      • What difference does it make?This woman's horrifying experience is far more important . Your complaint is petty and unimportant to the larger picture.

        • I think that was my point in my first post. But thanks for butting in to my question and answering on Sam's behalf. Are you his wife or mother?

  5. Ms. Massicote,
    Thank you so much for speaking out. That took courage, and I'm sure will help others who've been through similar experiences.

    I think most of the damage to victims of interpersonal crimes comes, not from the assault itself, but from the silence, secrecy and "shame" that results. This silence leaves the general public with little opportunity to understand things like this, which can only do two things:
    1) allow them little option other than to psychologically distance themselves from any personal implications, and therefore continue in their mistaken belief that this couldn't happen to them, and
    2) subconciously ratchet up their general fear, because they are given no concrete information to help them learn to recognize or cope. This, I believe, is what makes them turn on and blame victims.

    • Our modern culture seems to suffer from the delusion that a person, once harmed, is forever broken. That is because our silence about interpersonal violence means that we never get to see those who overcome and rise above adversity.

      I recently listened to an interview of a TTC subway driver who was driving during a suicide, as had her husband. She too went against the advice of her therapists, and of the organization, to speak about her and her husband's experience. I think that, like you, she too helped a lot of people that day.

      I hope that your courage means that we will eventually be able to get at the truth behind Colonel Williams' story as well, not to excuse, but to understand so that we can help prevent the next troubled soul from taking his path, and to prevent creating any more victims.

      Bless you & thank you.

  6. I can't begin to imagine what you've been through but I hope if forgiveness is what you need to do to move on then I'm all for that. If I was in the same situation I'm not sure I would be able to ever get over the pain and agony that you must have endured. I too am so sorry that this happened to you, but I wish you all the best and all the strength that you need to put this behind you. Stand tall and may God Bless!

  7. Ms. Massicotte, thank you so much for coming forward with your story. My kudos to you for staying in your home — staying and not running can be so empowering if you can manage it. Williams is a very ill individual, but it's the treatment you received from the police that is such a grave concern! I think your responses in the aftermath, wondering if the perpetrator was someone in the neighbourhood, must be very typical PTSD reactions. I am just so very glad for your sake that Williams was caught and that you were able to reconcile with your other neighbour. You are unimaginably brave, strong and inspiring for sharing your experience. I wish you all the best in your continued recovery.

  8. i am so overwhelmed with emotion and feel so much respect for this very strong lady!It is so sad to say that i personally connect with a few of this predator's victims , having interacted with ladies that are thankfully still alive and healing and knowing that myself ,my daughters and neighbours have been violated by Russ Williams sick controlling obsessions.Life imorisonment or Corporal punishment just doesn't seem enough-what if he were forced to read or listen to victim impact statements everyday? He should hear the pain of his victims and their families everyday-what he took away and the anguish he imposed should invoke remorse if he is at all human. The humiliation he has clouded our military forces with! the anger of a safe and close knit community-violated! Regardless of his past experiences and his lack of emotion or remorse-eventually if he hears it often enough it should hurt at least a fraction of what is felt by Marie or Jessica's family and friends. Never again should the tag colonel EVER be attached to his name. If he was able to fool our National Defence and dignataries worldwide than why would any of us doubt his wife's knowledge of his actions? He is beyond insane and a moniker to "never judge a book by its cover"

  9. On Sunday August 2nd, 2009 i was in Trenton Ontario visiting my boyfriend…it was my last day and i was sitting in a park across from tim hortons sorting through my things and making my way to the bus station, a variety store not more than 10 minutes walk away…there were several men talking in the small parkette, the garbage man, passersby…i was aware of a car idling behind me…when the park was empty, a very tall man exited the car and left it running…he said he would like to take me for a drive…i said no…he said it was a lovely day and i would enjoy it…i said no…i told him i was catching the bus back home…he offered to drive me to the bus station…i argued that it was a 10 minute walk…he insisted…i told him to get lost, gathered my things and walked swiftly away…at the next cross street he was sitting at the stop sign learing at me and not allowing me to cross…i gave him the finger…and i began to hurry my pace…again he passed me along the main road and stared with this sinister grin that sent shivers down my spine…i arrived safely at the variety store and purchased my bus ticket…several days later his face appeared on our local newspaper…i stopped in my tracks and almost passed out…i knew that face, that grin, that false charm…it was Russell Williams that had insisted i take a drive with him that day in Trenton…that he would take me somewhere quiet and lovely down by the water…i have never been charmed by the charming…i count my blessings every day that i followed my instincts once again…i pray for the families, for the women who were victimized…i pray for a world where people like him are allowed to terrorize innocent people…i thank the Lord for sparing my life.

    • I don't believe in much, but I believe you saved your own life, and are perhaps meant to do something great — even if it's just to live. Many young women would have got in his car; when I was young, I might have.

      It must make you feel weird. I am glad you are here on earth, and enjoy that life that could so easily have been ended with violence. Thanksgiving must be extra-meaningful to you this year.

    • I can’t believe I’m saying this, but this story sounds made-up.  Russell stalked at night like a coward.

      • Nadine, believe what you are saying; trust your intuition. Williams not only attacked exclusively at night, even in the dark he kept his physical identity hidden. He might be a disgrace to the military, but he has military training engrained: prevent capture! braveheart787’s alleged encounter with Williams contradicts his consistent behaviour of avoiding public exposure. And then there’s that nagging ‘it’s-not-just-the-story-but-something-else-just-doesn’t-feel-right’ intuition. Look closely; there’s a very subtle but definitive clue in braveheart787’s writing style. Odds are very high that she is a he.

  10. What will it take for the raising of a public inquiry into the actions & failures of the OPP to warn the public of a violent sexual predator at large, the failiure to share intel with the Belleville Police and not to interview williams because he was a man of note, and to focus on the wrong person, i live in the village and asked a local OPP about the revalation of the 82 break ins and was told 'oh its all in Ottawa' , i guess we were lucky having a monitored alarm and big dogs, but thanks to the gun registry we cant defend ourselves exactly what the authorites want – keep the people meek & uninformed and no way of raising a citizens patrol – i want to see an inquiry and i would like to see that house destroyed asap

  11. I am struck by Laurie Masicotte's sympathy for Russell Williams, and by several of the readers who left comments here. I recognize that it's more pity than sympathy, but it's there nonehteless. I've been following this story since it came out this past spring, and I've not once felt any pity for Williams. Like most of Canada, my feelings run closer to contempt. To read Laure Massicotte describing her ordeal, and for her to be able to recognize conflict on the part of Williams, in regards to his actions has made me view this story in a way I've never even thought to before. That is, to see Russell Williams as a person with thoughts, feelings and emotions, rather than the monster I've been seeing him as. (although I still feel that he is a monster) That says to me that he realized what he was doing was wrong but he couldn't help himself, like a heroin addict.

  12. Perhaps his obsession progressed to a point where even he didn't think it would, or could, to the point where it became bigger than him and overtook him. It makes me wonder if there was something Williams could have done to fight his urges, or if he was doomed to commit these crimes in spite of anything he could have done. I imagine there are more men out there who can eventually progress like Williams did if they don't keep their urges in check and insist on carrying out their sordid fantasies. I'm not trying to build sympathy for Williams, or these types of men, as I recognize that these actions are very wrong and he got what he deserved, but maybe it's time to be procactive with these sexual predators and maybe help these men before they ever reach that point where they cross the line, and perhaps some of these senseless acts can be avoided in the future. Perhaps if Russell had somewhere to turn, to discuss his sick urges and perhaps, with the help of a psychiatrist or some other sort of professional, he could have replaced them with healthier ones, and none of this would have ever happened.

  13. When a man realizes he has fantasies that involve unwilling participants or some sort of other illegal activity, the onus is on himself to seek help. But perhaps some of the responsibilty should also be on the government in ensuring that the right type of help is available for these individuals. Bottom line, these men are ill, and there has to be some way to help them before they ever get to the point where they are breaking the rules of decent conduct, and perhaps many of these men who could potentially become predators, could lead normal productive lives and be decent contributing members to society. Like I wrote earlier, I am no sympathizer of Williams and I feel justice was served. My heartfelt condolences to the victims and their families, especially to the families of the two women who lost their lives.

  14. In psychology, Stockholm syndrome is a term used to describe a real paradoxical psychological phenomenon wherein hostages express empathy and have positive feelings towards their captors, sometimes to the point of defending them. These feelings are generally considered irrational in light of the danger or risk endured by the victims, who essentially mistake a lack of abuse from their captors for an act of kindness.[1][2] The FBI’s Hostage Barricade Database System shows that roughly 27% of victims show evidence of Stockholm syndrome.[3] The syndrome is named after the Norrmalmstorg robbery of Kreditbanken at Norrmalmstorg in Stockholm, in which bank employees were held hostage from August 23 to August 28, 1973. In this case, the victims became emotionally attached to their captors, and even defended them after they were freed from their six-day ordeal. The term “Stockholm syndrome” was coined by the criminologist and psychiatrist Nils Bejerot, who assisted the police during the robbery, and referred to the syndrome in a news broadcast.[4] It was originally defined by psychiatrist Frank Ochberg to aid the management of hostage situations.[5]Contents[hide]