Banff rape victim testifies at Bitternose hearing

A young woman who was raped and beaten in Banff two years ago testified at her attacker's dangerous offender hearing on Monday.

A young woman who was raped and beaten in Banff two years ago testified at her attacker's dangerous offender hearing on Monday.

Cory Bitternose, a 40-year-old Saskatchewan man with a history of violence spanning two decades, faces indefinite imprisonment if he is classified as a dangerous offender.

The woman testified via television link, weeping even before she addressed the court. Her victim impact statement related to charges of kidnapping, sexual assault, assault with a weapon and uttering threats to which Bitternose pleaded guilty in March 2009.

She said she remembered laughing and talking with her friend in Banff in July 2008 on their way back from the pub.

They were pushing a bike down the road when a man in a pickup truck stopped and offered them a ride, she said.

Bitternose locked the doors when she got in and hit her in the face, the woman testified. He told her, "I'm going to kill you," she said.

Friend feels guilty for getting away

He beat both women. The woman testified her friend begged Bitternose to stop, before managing to get away.

She was then sexually assaulted by Bitternose. Her cellphone rang, and he ripped it to pieces and threw it in the bushes. She said she had thought she was going to die.

Bitternose told her he wanted her to have his baby, she said.

The woman testified that she's still ashamed and embarrassed about the assault, and has yet to tell her family about it.

The friend who got away told the court that she still feels guilty about leaving her friend, but is also haunted by what might have happened if she had stayed.

Hearing resumes in April

Bitternose also pleaded guilty last year to a string of Calgary break-ins prior to the Banff attacks. The robberies helped support Bitternose's crack addiction.

Bitternose's criminal history includes a string of assaults in Regina in 2004. According to transcripts from his sentencing hearing, he beat a man so badly at a party that the victim needed facial surgery.

Months later, Bitternose offered a ride to a woman walking in a Regina alley. She got into his car, but when she tried to back out of an agreement to trade sex for money, Bitternose kicked, punched and choked her.

In 1990, he broke into a Calgary office building washroom and beat a woman so badly that he left the imprint of his shoe on the victim's face. In that case, Bitternose pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and was sentenced to more than five years in prison.

The dangerous offender hearing continues all week and then resumes in April.