'I got scared,' says Quebec man accused of killing partner, stranger

Ugo Fredette was in tears as he told the Saint-Jérôme courtroom his side of the story on Wednesday.

Ugo Fredette tells jury that victims had tried to attack him

Fredette is facing two counts of first-degree murder. (Provided by Saint-Jérôme courthouse )

Ugo Fredette was in tears as he told the courtroom in Saint-Jérôme his side of the story on Wednesday. 

"I panicked and I got scared. I don't understand how it happened," Fredette told the jury.

"I have this image that haunts me, that disgusts me. I loved my girlfriend."

He was describing Véronique Barbe, who was found dead Sept. 14, 2017, at her home in Saint-Eustache, Que.

Fredette is facing two counts of first-degree murder. He is accused of killing Barbe, 41, and a man at a rest stop in Lachute.

Fredette described his seven-and-a-half year relationship with Barbe as "hardcore." 

Four days before the incident, Barbe hit him and threatened to kill him, Fredette said. 

'I stood my ground' 

On Sept. 14, 2017, a fight between the two escalated. 

"She reiterated that she wanted to sell the house and that she was tired of me," said Fredette. 

He said she then began screaming and calling him names. 

"For the first time in my life, I stood my ground. I said no to Véronique, I don't want to sell the house." 

Fredette said that, at that moment, Barbe pushed him into the stairs and he ran after her. 

"She tried attacking me with a knife. With all the rage that accumulated, the wires were crossed. The pot boiled over," Fredette said.

He said he defended himself, remembers the knife going into his arm and then his mind went blank. His next memory was seeing the lifeless body of his spouse in the kitchen. 

Last month, Crown prosecutor Steve Baribeau told the jury that Fredette couldn't accept the end of his relationship with Barbe so the accused allegedly stabbed her 17 times.

A child witness

A child allegedly witnessed the tragedy unfold. To "protect" him and so that he wouldn't be scared, Fredette left his residence and placed the child in the backseat of his van.

"He lay down in a cover and I drove with him," he said.

"I'm scared, I'm anxious. I feel bad. I find this disgusting. I'm in a panic, in a complete panic. This can't be happening."

Fredette drove to a rest area in Lachute. He used the restroom in the woods and noticed the child was gone when he got back to his van, he said. Fredette noticed the child was with a stranger who was holding his hand.

"I thought he was going to be abducted," said Fredette. The stranger was 71-year-old Yvon Lacasse. 

To "protect" the child, Fredette grabbed the stranger by his collar and told him to let go of the child. 

"The man was violent, he attacked me. In my rage, I took it badly. I started punching," said Fredette.  

The two men then fought it out, he said.

"I had terrifying visions of all that had happened. I was outside myself." 

Fredette said he then pushed the man to the ground, and he never got up. 

"I felt bad about what had just happened and I wanted to put him in his vehicle," he said. 

In a panic, Fredette took off in Lacasse's vehicle and placed his body in a "marsh." 

Arrested in Ontario 

In the nearly 24 hours he was on the run, Fredette knew the police were actively looking for him. 

Fredette was arrested Sept. 15, in Ontario after a reportedly brief chase. 

He said he only realized the magnitude of what had happened when the officers charged him with murder. 

"I realized that my girlfriend was really dead. I didn't realize she was dead when I left our home," he said. 

Fredette maintains that he never had the intention of killing the two victims.

The Crown is set to cross-examine Fredette on Friday. 

With files from Radio-Canada and The Canadian Press