New Brunswick

Cormier verdict gives victim 'release'

Romeo Cormier was found guilty of all six charges at his kidnapping and sexual assault trial in Moncton, N.B.

'I really wanted to show him that he never had control of me, not for one minute,' victim says of her testimony

The woman who was kidnapped and sexually assaulted by Romeo Cormier says she can finally start to let go of the nightmare of her 26-day confinement.

Cormier, 63, was found guilty Wednesday of all six charges at his kidnapping and sexual assault trial in Moncton, N.B.

"It's hard for me to move on with normal day-to-day things because you have this on your back that you can't get rid of," said the victim, speaking with reporters after the hearing.

"But today, I feel a sense of release, like I feel like I can move on from here."
Romeo Cormier, 63, has been found guilty on six charges, including kidnapping and sexual assault. (CBC)

The jury spent roughly six hours deliberating on the charges before returning with the verdict. They found Cormier guilty of kidnapping, unlawful confinement, sexual assault, theft of money using violence, assault with a weapon and uttering threats.

As the verdict was read, the victim wept with her husband's arms around her. Members of the woman's family also had their arms around each other.

The woman, who can't be identified due to a publication ban, later told reporters it was important for her to testify against Cormier despite the fact she had to relive her ordeal.

"I just didn't want him to think I was scared of him. I wanted to let him know that I was after him now," she said.

She described Cormier as a "mean person" who had "no remorse."

The victim testified for two days about her capture and Cormier's actions. While the testimony was often graphic, she told reporters she wanted to have a chance to address her attacker.

"I really wanted to show him that he never had control of me, not for one minute. I controlled him and he didn't even know it."

The woman's husband told reporters he was glad the trial was over.

"It's been absolute, pure hell just to have to listen to him, sit there in the courtroom and listen to some monster talk about your wife in the way that he talked about her," he said.

The woman's daughter also said the family had been waiting for this day.

"He's got what he deserves, and we can all move on," she said.

The victim said she hopes Cormier never gets out of prison. She said if he's ever released, she hopes he's too old to ever hurt anyone again.

Cormier had a smirk on his face when his guilty verdicts were read in court.

His defence has asked for a pre-sentence report, with sentencing scheduled for Aug. 18.

A lawyer for Cormier said his client was not surprised with the outcome.

Abducted from Moncton mall

During the trial, the woman testified Cormier abducted her from a downtown Moncton shopping mall parking lot on Feb. 26, 2010, and took her to a nearby rooming house.

She said he held her captive and repeatedly sexually assaulted her until she escaped after 26 days.

The woman said Cormier told her that he would not return to prison as a kidnapper or a rapist, but as a murderer.

She also said Cormier told her, "You're with the devil now."

The woman escaped March 24 when Cormier left the rooming house to go to a Moncton food bank.

She ran into the street and stopped a Purolator truck. The driver who picked her up testified she was wearing only a T-shirt, panties and socks when she ran towards his truck.

Cormier, meanwhile, told the court he and the woman first met in 1993 in Newfoundland and Labrador. He said she could have left his room at any time.

He also said he and the woman plotted to kill her husband.

While testifying, Cormier admitted to leading a life of crime. He detailed several previous criminal convictions for robbing a liquor store and robbing his father-in-law.

Several times during Cormier's testimony, Court of Queen's Bench Justice Zoël Dionne cautioned defence lawyers to control their client on the stand. His answers would often ramble on or he would not answer the questions.

Jury selection for the high-profile case started June 13 when more than 500 potential jurors packed into the Moncton Coliseum's Arena, which was turned into a temporary courtroom. The Department of Justice had initially sent out 1,500 notices.

The trial started on June 17 and the jury heard from several witnesses and experts. The victim and Cormier each spent several days explaining their accounts of what happened during the 26 days the woman was missing.