Moving forward: Winnipeg lawyer who lost hand in letter blast thanks supporters

A Winnipeg lawyer who lost her hand when a letter bomb exploded in her office says she didn't know if she was going to be OK in the early minutes after the blast, but first responders made her feel safe.

WINNIPEG — A Winnipeg lawyer who lost her hand when a letter bomb exploded in her office says she didn’t know if she was going to be OK in the early minutes after the blast, but first responders made her feel safe.

Maria Mitousis expressed her thanks Wednesday to all the police officers, paramedics and health professionals who have helped her since she was injured last July.

Mitousis says it was easy to be brave the morning of the blast, because of the caring response she received from everyone.

“I just needed to say calm and take deep breaths,” she said at a news conference where some of the people involved in her case were introduced.

It was “easy to be brave when I had great role models.”

She said it was very emotional for her to meet all of those people on Wednesday, many of them for the first time.

Mitousis, who is well-known in Winnipeg’s legal community, said her ultimate goal as she continues her recovery is to go back to work.

Guido Amsel was charged with attempted murder after three letter bombs were sent to his former wife’s workplace and the offices of lawyers who had represented him and his wife in their divorce. He has been denied bail.

Police said that in each case an explosive compound was inserted into a recording device.

Two bombs were safely disposed of, but one exploded and severely injured Mitousis, who faces long-term rehabilitation.

Court documents show Amsel and his ex-wife, Iris, went through a lengthy and bitter divorce in which Amsel accused her of stealing millions of dollars from an auto-body shop they jointly owned.

Amsel has since remarried.

The acrimony appeared to end in March of this year. A memorandum from a pre-trial conference says Amsel agreed that he owed his former wife $40,000 from the auto-body shop and promised to sell vehicles and equipment to get the money.

An auction was scheduled for July 11, eight days after the bomb exploded in Mitousis’ office. The sale was postponed after the blast when the police investigation was launched.

Amsel’s lawyer, Martin Glazer, has said his client did not commit the crime and should not have to sit in jail until a trial that could be two years away.

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