Violent domestic assault sends Pictou County man to prison

Stephen William Russell, a 38-year-old Westville man, has been sentenced to two years in federal prison for two "violent and unprovoked" assaults on his partner.

Stephen William Russell sentenced for beating Traci Anne Parker

Stephen William Russell, a 38-year-old Westville man, has been sentenced to two years in federal prison for two "violent and unprovoked" assaults on his partner.

Russell, who pleaded guilty in January to two counts of assault causing bodily harm, was sentenced last week in Pictou provincial court. Judge Del Atwood's decision was published on Tuesday.

According to an agreed statement of facts, RCMP officers rushed to Russell's home on Nov. 16 to find him beating Traci Anne Parker.

Parker told police that she and Russell had been drinking at a camp in Mount Thom. She said both were drunk and she was concerned about Russell's driving, so she hid his keys once they got home.

Parker told the court that Russell demanded she return his keys. He grabbed her by the throat, threw her to the ground and punched and kicked her while she was down. He kicked her in the head with his work boots, breaking her glasses.

According to the statement, Parker threw her cellphone under her car to prevent Russell from getting it. She then crawled under her car and dialed 911. She was able to tell the 911 operator where she was before Russell dragged her out from under the vehicle.

He continued to kick and punch her and told her, "I'm going to kill you, you bitch."

A "bloodied and battered" Parker was taken to the emergency room at the Aberdeen Hospital in New Glasgow.

While she was giving her statement to police, Parker described a similar incident following a Halloween party in 2012. In that incident, Russell blamed Parker for losing his keys and proceeded to shove her and drag her around a parking lot until she was able to get away. She suffered a dislocated shoulder.

'Real and substantial' risk to victim

As a result of these incidents, Russell was charged with two counts of assault causing bodily harm and one count of uttering threats.

In sentencing Russell, Atwood wrote: "It is clear to the court from the facts that were read into the record that police arrived just in time," adding that the "risk of lethality" to Parker was "real and substantial."

In her victim impact statement, Parker said she missed two weeks of work while she waited for the bruises and scars on her face to heal. She was left with two black eyes, stitches, multiple bruises and a jaw so sore she couldn't open her mouth wide enough to eat for four days.

Parker wrote of the "shame of having to call my mother from the back of an ambulance at 2 a.m. to let her know that I was on my way to the hospital beaten and bleeding."

"I'm embarrassed and ashamed that I allowed Stephen to hurt me," Parker wrote. "I'm embarrassed to go out in public."

Atwood said this was not a case of Parker having "allowed" anything.

"What was inflicted upon her was a violent and unprovoked act of alcohol-fuelled rage that resulted in serious bodily harm, serious victim impact and Ms. Parker is in no way responsible for what happened to her," he said in sentencing Russell.

"The person who bears sole responsibility is Mr. Russell."

Atwood sentenced Russell to 12 months for each assault, which adds up to two years in prison. He must give a DNA sample and faces a lifetime firearm ban.