Senior recounts assault on secluded path

Fighting her emotions, a 79-year-old frail but determined woman described on Tuesday how she was attacked and assaulted while on her way to buy blueberries about 18 months ago.

Fighting her emotions, a 79-year-old frail but determined woman described on Tuesday how she was attacked and assaulted while on her way to buy blueberries about 18 months ago.

The woman remembered asking for God’s help when her attacker grabbed her from behind and put a hand over her mouth. She was attacked on a secluded path in a bushy area just west of Gaetz Avenue and north of 67th Street in Red Deer on July 29.

“I asked God . . . Jesus help me,” the woman told Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Monica Bast the witness box.

“I couldn’t do nothing. I was so scared,” she said.

“He was really strong.”

She told her attacker she would give him all the money she had to “just leave me alone.”

The assailant held her mouth shut.

“He was really mean to me,” she told Crown prosecutor Anders Quist.

“I don’t remember much after that,” said the woman, who walked to the witness stand with the aid of a cane.

Jesse Peter Toews, 26, of Red Deer is charged with aggravated sexual assault, robbery and unlawful confinement.

Toews stands about 1.83 metres (six feet) tall and weighs about 78 kg (180 pounds).

The woman said she never saw her attacker’s face but deduced it was a man because of his strength.

She said the attacker never said a word but was grabbing at her panty hose, trying to pull them down.

She remembered being on the ground near an abandoned campsite spot.

“I don’t know what he did with me,” said the woman, who believed she was knocked unconscious.

She also couldn’t disagree with defence lawyer Arnold Piragoff, who suggested there could have been more than one attacker.

Her purse, which contained a change purse, was taken. The change purse, her glasses and a broken watch were found later by police.

The woman said she had about $100 in cash, which was missing.

She managed to get to the Save-On store “bleeding heavily” from a head cut.

She received a large gash on the right side of the back of her head, requiring stitches, and she suffered numerous cuts and bruises.

RCMP Const. Chantal Vautour said she accompanied the woman in the ambulance to the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre about 10:15 a.m. and remembers by about 5 p.m. the woman’s face was swelling badly and her left eye was black.

Cpl. Donald Moorish of the city’s RCMP forensic identification unit said a few hypodermic needles were found in the area as well.

Toews has been in custody since his arrest about a month after the attack.

The trial is expected to run until Friday.

jwilson@bprda.wpengine.com