Three women testified Tuesday about being choked by Thomas Svekla, who is on trial in Edmonton on charges of killing two prostitutes.

Svelka is charged with second-degree murder in the deaths of Theresa Innes, 36, and Rachel Quinney, 19.

'He was telling me to shut up, to be still. He said all it would take is for him to push a little harder and I would be dead.' — Former girlfriend of Thomas Svekla

One woman, whose identity is protected by a court-ordered publication ban, told of being attacked in the mid-1980s by the man she still calls "Tommy." At the time, she was 14 or 15 years old.

She told the court that Svekla chased her around her family home, screaming at her, and eventually pinned her to the floor. He then put his hands around her throat, she said.

"He was sitting on top of me, with his hands around my neck and his thumbs on the centre of my throat," she said.

"He was telling me to shut up, to be still. He said all it would take is for him to push a little harder and I would be dead."

Svekla threatened to kill her if she told anyone about the attack, the woman testified. She never did, and a few years later, she testified, she even dated the accused.

'I knew it wasn't right. I was telling him to stop. I lost consciousness.' — Another former girlfriend of Thomas Svekla

Sylvia Krause, another of Svekla's girlfriends in the 1980s, told the court she dated him on and off for four years. Svekla choked her on at least two occasions, she said, once using his forearm, the other time wrapping his hands around her neck.

It made her feel helpless, Krause said.

A third woman, who also cannot be identified, told a similar story. One night, around 2003, Svekla tied her hands and began choking her with a floral scarf, she testified.

"I knew it wasn't right. I was telling him to stop. I lost consciousness," she said.

Innes's remains of were found in May 2006, stuffed in a hockey bag. Quinney's body was found in a field outside Edmonton in 2004. 

The medical examiners were not able to establish a cause of death for either woman, but they suggested it's possible both victims were choked.