A 38-year-old Dartmouth man was called a "psychopath" on Thursday as he was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 13 years for the murder of Nadine Taylor, who disappeared nearly three years ago.
Steven Elliott Laffin pleaded guilty last month to second-degree murder in Taylor's death.
"You're either a psychopath or you have serious psychopathic tendencies," said Justice Felix Cacchione as he handed down the sentence.
"It is clear that you have serious underlying issues that must be addressed before you are released."
Donna Taylor, Nadine's mother, described sleepless nights and needing therapy since losing her daughter.
"My daughter Nadine was my precious dolly girl, she was pretty, funny, loved people and animals. She would never turn anyone away that needed help or food," Taylor said in her victim impact statement.
"There are many precious moments and times that I will never share with my daughter Nadine. I know that every special occasion or event that I would have shared with her has been shattered as a result of her being murdered."
Laffin turned to face Taylor's family in the gallery and spoke in court for the first time.
"I'd just like to first apologize," he said.
"I know saying 'I'm sorry' won't do anything and won't bring Nadine back. But I am sorry for the pain that I have done."
The Crown prosecutors and Laffin's defence lawyer made a joint recommendation that he serve at least 13 years in prison before he's eligible to apply for parole. Because Laffin has been in custody since Oct. 29, 2010, he will be eligible to apply for parole in 10 1/2 years.
Laffin was also sentenced to nine years for kidnapping, aggravated assault, uttering threats and unlawful confinement in an August 2010 incident in which a woman escaped from the trunk of a moving car on Old Sambro Road in Halifax.
That sentence will be served concurrently with the murder sentence.
The identity of the victim in that case is banned from publication.
"Even for him to apologize just made it a lot different. I never expected that," she said.
The woman, who told CBC News she has since quit the sex-trade, said Laffin grabbed her throat and choked her until she was unconscious.
When she recovered, her mouth was covered with duct tape and her ankles and wrists were bound. The woman was sexually assaulted and she said Laffin threatened to kill her.
She was stuffed into the trunk of Laffin's car, but managed to escape from the moving vehicle and get help.
More than two years later she got to look her attacker in the eye in the courtroom. She says the ordeal has made her stronger.
"I'm a recovering addict. I've been doing a lot better with the drugs. I don't trust anybody anymore. I don't help anybody anymore," she said.
Nadine Taylor's disappearance
Taylor disappeared in July 2010, after leaving her Halifax home to make a call from a payphone because she didn't have a phone of her own. She never returned, prompting her fiancé to contact police and spend nights biking around the city searching for her.
Laffin was charged with Taylor's murder in October 2010, even though police said at the time that they did not expect to ever find her body.
The night Taylor disappeared was just a couple of days before Laffin was to marry Joanna Swinemar. At the time, his wife-to-be was out of town attending her stagette.
Swinemar called Laffin that night and he told her he was tired and was staying home. During Laffin's preliminary hearing, the court heard testimony from his now ex-wife, that Laffin brought Taylor to their Dartmouth home.
Both his wife and police witnesses testified about blood spatter all over the basement of that home.
To explain the blood, Laffin told Swinemar he'd been mugged in the driveway and went down the basement to clean up so as not to mess up the rest of the house.
Because they were getting married and were expecting guests, Laffin persuaded Swinemar to help him clean the house. They scrubbed it down, but they didn't get everything because police were still able to gather samples for trial.
Police spent seven days searching the house, gathering the evidence they thought they were going to have to use at his trial.
The week before Laffin pleaded guilty, he led police to Taylor's body, concealed in the woods near a highway in East Chezzetcook.
Taylor had been working in the sex trade at the time of her disappearance.