New Brunswick

Kidnap victim says she was too scared to escape

A woman who told a New Brunswick court she was abducted, held for 26 days and sexually assaulted by Romeo Cormier testifies she was too fearful to escape, even though there were opportunities.

A woman who told a New Brunswick court she was abducted, held for 26 days and sexually assaulted by Romeo Cormier testified Thursday that she was too fearful to escape, even though there were opportunities.

Asked during cross-examination by one of Cormier's lawyers why she didn't smash a window when she saw people outside, or perhaps throw a hammer at Cormier, the woman said, "It would have gotten his attention — [and] it would have gotten me dead."

"I let him think I wanted to be there," she said.

Romeo Cormier, 63, is accused of kidnapping and sexually assaulting a Moncton woman last year. (CBC)

The woman, who cannot be named because of a publication ban, previously offered graphic details in court about her abduction on the night of Feb. 26, 2010, and described the sexual assaults that followed.

She cried when she told the court in Moncton, N.B., how the kidnapping took away her independence and changed her as a person.

Asked Thursday if she had consented to sex, she said, "I didn't stop him." Nor did she ever think about kicking him in the groin, she testified, because she was sure she couldn't overcome a man his size. 

The woman was asked previously whether she had ever met Cormier, 63, before this incident and she replied the first time she ever laid eyes on him was the night she was grabbed at a downtown Moncton mall.

A Moncton woman testified on Wednesday how Cormier told her he was the devil. (Mitch McQuinn)

Cormier, who is facing six charges in connection with the case, including kidnapping and sexual assault, took notes and listened intently to the woman's testimony.

Speaking outside of the courtroom, the woman's daughter said she's relieved that her mother's testimony has wrapped up.

"As a family we couldn't be more proud of how she did over the past few days," the daughter said.

"We've been anticipating this now for 15 months and it has been a lot of stress for her and for us. But we absolutely don't think she could have done a better job."

The daughter said her mother told the family on Wednesday after the first day of testimony that she felt a huge weight had been lifted off of her shoulders.

"A lot of the details that we heard as a family yesterday, we had never heard before," the daughter said.

"So she knew that was going to be hard for us and that was weighing on her too, but it was a necessary thing that had to be done. So she definitely feels a lot better right now."

The Crown will call its last two witnesses on Friday. The defence said it will start its case on Monday.

'You're with the devil'

The kidnapping victim told the court on Wednesday that soon after arriving at Cormier's Moncton rooming house, he told her, "You're with the devil now."

She also said Cormier told her, "You're mine now till the end. You're my woman now. You know what couples do. I expect you to take care of me."

The woman testified that Cormier began sexually assaulting her soon after she arrived at his rooming house.

She said he once told her he would not return to prison as a kidnapper or a rapist, but would return as a murderer.

The woman said he only left her alone three times and that she escaped on March 24, 2010, while Cormier went to a food bank. 

After struggling loose from the ties that were around her feet and hands, she ran into the street and a Purolator driver stopped and picked her up.

The woman said she got in the truck and then "lost it" as she realized she was free.

Jean-Pierre Thibodeau, the Purolator truck driver, testified on Thursday that he saw the woman running out onto the street wearing only a T-shirt, panties and socks.

He described her as frantic and afraid, and said she was waving her hands trying to get his attention.

Thibodeau also testified that just before he picked the woman up, he saw a man hurrying toward Pacific Avenue. He said the man was wearing a leather jacket and had a scraggly beard.

 In the courtroom, he identified Cormier as the man he had seen that day.