Suspect in Toronto cemetery sex attack appears in court with scratches on face

Toronto police said the man charged with attempted murder in the sexual attack of a woman in a cemetery this week is “known to police” but disclosed no further details.

TORONTO — Toronto police said the man charged with attempted murder in the sexual attack of a woman in a cemetery this week is “known to police” but disclosed no further details.

Russell Benjamin Kirkpatrick appeared in court Thursday with a slew of cuts and scratches over his head and face, and blood on his prison jumpsuit. He was remanded in custody for his next appearance on Monday.

Kirkpatrick, 44, of Toronto, is also charged with aggravated sexual assault. He was arrested Wednesday in the city’s east end, Det.-Sgt. Corinne Bellon told reporters.

“It was a collaborative effort that brought about this successful outcome,” she said.

Bellon said the sex crimes unit would like to speak to anyone who has had contact with the accused from Monday up until the time of his arrest, in an effort to gather more information.

The tall, thin man with long, blond hair wore an orange prison-issue jumpsuit when he appeared in the east-end Toronto court.

Kirkpatrick’s lawyer, Tyler Smith, said outside court that his client has indicated he was in a great deal of physical pain.

“All that we know for sure is that he does have obvious visible injuries on his face and body, and there is plenty of blood on his (prison jumpsuit),” he said.

Smith said there were cuts and scratches on Kirkpatrick’s face, ear, head and cheek, but that he can’t say for certain how, when or where he got those injuries. He did say they looked fresh.

Bellon could not comment on the injuries of the accused or his current physical condition.

She said the victim, a 61-year-old woman, was in stable condition in hospital. The woman was attacked, beaten and sexually assaulted Monday at the Pine Hills Cemetery while visiting a family gravesite.