New Brunswick

'You're with the devil,' kidnapper allegedly told victim

A woman told a packed Moncton courtroom about her knifepoint abduction last February and how her accused attacker, Romeo Cormier, told her she was "with the devil now."

Warning: This story contains graphic details

A woman told a packed courtroom in Moncton, N.B., about her knifepoint abduction last February and how her attacker told her she was "with the devil now."

The woman, who cannot be identified because of a publication ban, testified Wednesday morning in the trial of 63-year-old Romeo Cormier.

Cormier faces six charges, including kidnapping and sexual assault, in the disappearance of the Moncton woman in February 2010.

The woman disappeared from a downtown Moncton shopping centre and was missing for nearly a month before she escaped and found her way to the city's RCMP headquarters.

Romeo Cormier called himself the devil, according to a woman who accuses him of kidnapping her. (CBC)

The woman told the court how she was heading toward her car just after 8 p.m. on Feb. 26, when someone grabbed her.

In a calm steady voice, she described how she thought she was being robbed and yelled for help.

She told the court Cormier put a knife to her face. Several of her fingers were cut, she said, when she put her hands up in self-defence.

During the struggle, the woman said, Cormier put the knife to her throat and told her to come with him or he'd kill her.

The woman then recounted how Cormier tied her hands together and told her he had just stabbed someone on Moncton's St. George Boulevard. He said he needed her to come with him because the RCMP were looking for a man and not a couple.

Once they left the downtown mall, she said her attacker took her to a rooming house off St. George Boulevard where her mouth was taped shut and her hands were duct-taped together.

While at the rooming house, the woman said, Cormier asked himself, "What have I done?"

But soon after, the woman said, Cormier told her, "You're with the devil now," before listing several crimes that he had committed in the past.

The taunting continued, the woman said. Later, she 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 said the sexual assaults began shortly after that.

At first, she said, Cormier forced her to masturbate him repeatedly, then he forced her to perform oral sex.

Cormier started having forced intercourse with her two weeks after she was kidnapped, the woman testified.

The woman said that as time wore on, Cormier seemed more angry with her and that he was somehow not getting what he wanted from her, often flying into rages.

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

She said he had two knives and a hammer in his room, but she was never able to use them or try to escape because Cormier threatened to keep her tied up and gagged all the time if she did.

Family motivated woman to stay alive

Two days after arriving at the rooming house, Cormier left for the first time. The woman said her hands and feet were tied together and she was gagged. At that point, she testified, she was preparing to die.

But when Cormier returned, she said he turned on the television to watch the news, which he had become obsessed in doing.

It was then that she saw her family on television pleading for her return.

The woman told the court that she became determined to live through the ordeal.

She said Cormier told her if she ever escaped that he'd tell the police that the relationship was consensual.

She testified that Cormier kept a copy of the Criminal Code in his rooming house and said it would somehow be her who'd be charged with a criminal offence.

The woman told the court she pretended to believe Cormier when he'd tell her about possible criminal charges she could face.

The third time Cormier left the house — in a hurry to get to the food bank — he hadn't tied the woman as tightly as usual.

She was able to get one hand free before he came back into the apartment. He left again and she managed to get her other hand and feet free, then removed her gag.

She ran outside and stopped a Purolator truck, got in and knelt down on the floor of the vehicle so she couldn't be seen.

The woman testified she told the driver who she was and what happened, and he took her to the police station.

She broke down as she told the court the driver held her hand and told her everything would be all right.

She said it was the first time she'd felt anything in 26 days.

The high-profile kidnapping trial has already heard from RCMP investigators and family members of the woman.

The woman's sister told the jury on Monday how her family immediately began to search for her because the sudden disappearance was out of character.

She also said that when she saw her sister for the first time after her disappearance, she seemed weak and fragile. She said her sister is still nervous about going outside.

Court adjourned late Wednesday. The woman will be back in the witness box for cross-examination Thursday.