Yosef Gopaul linked to Ontario assault before Newton Arena attack
Woman died after being brutally assaulted Dec. 29 outside a Surrey hockey arena
More details are emerging about Yosef Gopaul, the man charged in the slaying of Surrey, B.C., hockey mom Julie Paskall, who died after being attacked outside the Newton Arena in December.
Gopaul, 27, who moved to B.C. from Ontario about eight weeks before the slaying, appeared in court in Surrey on Monday to face a second-degree murder charge in the brutal attack.
Police said they identified Gopaul as a potential suspect about a month after the attack. He was placed under surveillance for four months before his was arrested in Surrey on Friday.
After his arrest, police confirmed Gopaul has a violent criminal record outside British Columbia.
"I can confirm that he does have a criminal record. I'm not going to go into any further details beyond that. That criminal record that he does have is not from British Columbia," said the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team's Supt. Kevin Hackett on Saturday.
A man with the same name and date of birth was convicted of aggravated sexual assault in Brampton in 2010.
When asked if it was the same Gopaul, Hackett said, "I believe that is the same individual."
The Parole Board of Canada said that Gopaul finished serving a sentence for aggravated sexual assault last June.
From her home in Ontario, Lynda Lemmon has been following the charges laid in B.C. closely
"I heard his name and my ears perked up," said Lemmon. "When this family finds out all the things that he has done, they're going to be furious."
That is because Gopaul was also slated to be a witness during a trial for a 2008 stabbing in Brampton, according to Lemmon, whose son died in that attack.
She said that during the trial, the court heard Gopaul allegedly lured Luis Estrada-Lemmon from a club to a spot where another man stabbed him.
But Lemmon said the Crown chose not to use his testimony at the trial because a 2010 sexual assault conviction made him an unreliable witness in the eyes of the court.
"When he committed this other crime — this brutal rape — he no longer was to be the reliable witness that they thought they were going to have."
Held in custody
Gopaul is being held in custody until his next court appearance, set for June 13 at 9.30 a.m. PT.
Paskall was assaulted in the parking lot of the Newton Arena while waiting to pick up her teenage son, Cailean, who was refereeing a hockey game the night of Dec. 29, 2013.
She was taken to hospital where she was placed on life support, but she died days later, on New Year's Eve. At the time, police described the attack as a robbery gone wrong.
With files from CBC's Jason Proctor