A woman who partied with Thomas Svekla in the summer of 2005 told an Edmonton court Thursday the accused double-killer sexually assaulted her and threatened to kill her.

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

He is also facing charges of sexual assault and uttering threats in connection with the alleged attack on the woman who testified Thursday. A trial on those charges is expected to be held in the fall.


A woman testified Thursday that accused killer Thomas Svekla, seen here in a court sketch, sexually assaulted her and threatened to kill her in the summer of 2005. ((CBC))

The woman, who can't be identified, told the court she and the accused shared a six-pack of beer in High Level, Alta., and then went back to his apartment.

"He started getting close and I knew there was something wrong.  I said I've gotta go and he attacked me from behind," the woman told the court.

"He grabbed my throat with his left hand and had his right hand over my mouth and nose. I couldn't breathe, couldn't scream for help." 

She said she was on her knees and started to "see stars."

"That's when he said he was going to twist my neck and break it and hide my body somewhere nobody would ever find it." 

In a desperate attempt to save herself, the woman said she played dead and Svekla let her go. She ran away with Svekla chasing her. She managed to escape, then went to a police station and reported the attack.

Nine months after that alleged attack, Svekla was charged with killing Innes and Quinney.

Medical examiners were not able to establish a cause of death for either of the prostitutes, but suggested it's possible both victims were choked

On Tuesday, court heard from three other women who told of being choked by Svekla as far back as 20 years ago.

Svekla has pleaded not guilty to the murder charges. His trial, which began in February, is being heard by a judge alone.