Thomas Svekla, who is serving a life sentence for killing an Alberta prostitute, was declared a dangerous offender Thursday by a judge in Edmonton.


Thomas Svekla, seen in the back of an RCMP cruiser after a 2006 court appearance, was labelled a likely psychopath in a psychiatrist's report. (CBC )

In a written ruling she read to the court, Alberta Court of Queen's Bench Judge Christine Eidsvik said the Crown has proved that the 42-year-old would likely cause injury and pain in the future and that he is unable to control his sexual impulses.

"He has a pathology for which there is no cure," Eidsvik said.

When the judge declared Svekla a dangerous offender, he simply looked at his mother in the courtroom and shrugged his shoulders.

Svekla's family refused comment outside court.

Svekla was convicted in June 2008 of second-degree murder in the death of sex-trade worker Theresa Innes.

He was also found guilty of sexual assault and uttering threats in September 2008 in a case involving another woman, and in March 2009 was found guilty of sexual interference and sexual assault in a 1995 case involving a five-year-old girl.

He is serving a life sentence with no chance of parole for 17 years. The dangerous-offender designation means Svekla will remain in prison indefinitely.

"It is remarkable the number of people he has injured and harmed," Eidsvik said. 

A psychiatric report presented in December at Svekla's dangerous-offender hearing suggested he is a psychopath who is at a high risk of re-offending.

Right decision: Crown

Svekla's lawyer, Mona Duckett, had argued in favour of a long-term offender designation, which would mean he would be eventually released, but face a mandatory 10-year supervision period after that with special programs and intense community supervision.

Crown prosecutor Ashley Finlayson said the judge's decision was ultimately the right one.

"In our opinion, Mr. Svekla was a person with a history of violence against women, and based on the evidence that we had and which we called in court, it was our view he would not have been manageable in the community had he been released," he said.

Kathy King, an advocate for sex-trade workers, said she was relieved with Svekla's designation.

King's 22-year-old daughter, Caralyn, disappeared from the streets of Edmonton in 1997. Her body was found in a canola field in Sherwood Park, east of Edmonton, in September of that year.

"I am relieved that whatever happens with the appeal, he will not be out on the streets, because I really truly believe that the women of Edmonton deserve protection from that man," King said.

King said she would still like to know whether Svekla is responsible for her daughter's death.

There are currently 415 dangerous offenders in Canada, according to statistics from the Correctional Service of Canada.

With files from CBC's Janice Johnston and Briar Stewart