The 101-year-old veteran of the Second World War who made national headlines after being tied up and robbed in Ottawa in December says while he was "madder than a wasp" that day, he can't judge the man now facing criminal charges.
In his first broadcast interview since the Dec. 18 incident, Ernest Côté told CBC Ottawa anchor Lucy Van Oldenbarneveld he remembers not feeling any fear.
"I was madder than a wasp, and I couldn't do a damn thing, and that's all I could do until he left," Côté said. "I was never afraid. I was madder than a wasp. Wasps ain't afraid; they're mad.
"Life is such that when you see these things happen to you, you try to get out. The important thing is to concentrate on how to get out of the position in which you happen to be. If you're afraid and paralyzed, you don't move. I was never afraid. I was not afraid of the landing, the D-Day landing. I was not afraid."
Côté tied up, left with plastic bag over head
Côté was alone in his second-floor apartment at 31 Durham Pvt. when, at 7:30 a.m. ET, a man claiming to be a City of Ottawa employee asked to be buzzed into the building.
After the suspect was let in he asked Côté for money at his front door, and when Cote refused the suspect forced his way into the apartment, Ottawa police said at the time.
The suspect then tied the elderly man up, put a plastic bag over Côté's head, searched the apartment and fled.
Once the suspect had left, Côté was able to free himself and call police. He suffered only minor injuries and did not need to be taken to hospital.
The following day, police arrested 59-year-old Ian Bush and later charged him with attempted murder, robbery with violence, forcible confinement, breaking and entering, and two counts of using a credit card obtained by crime.
None of the allegations against Bush have been proven in court. He was ordered to undergo a psychiatric assessment.
'It is not up to the individual who feels the grief to decide'
Côté said he doesn't have an opinion about what should happen, and he won't judge.
"We have a system of justice and it is not up to the individual who feels the grief to decide this, it's up to the courts," Côté said.
"What can I do about it? It's in the hands of the law. Let the law follow its course. He obviously had need for money or other things, I don't know. But I can't judge him. Things are like that; you take life as it comes."
Cote said he's thankful to be cared for by his children and he's thankful for the messages of support from friends, acquaintances and strangers worldwide.
"Friends whom I had not seen or heard of since I was in Finland [contacted me], and at least two who are living in Ottawa and the surrounding [area] wrote to me and came to see me," he said.
"I've had some [messages] from London, from Paris, from Montreal, and even my daughter had friends of hers who sent condolences … from Brazil."