Nfld. & Labrador

Victims' rights pioneer dies

Nellie Nippard, the Newfoundland woman who was stabbed 33 times by her husband and survived, has died of cancer.

Nellie Nippard, the Newfoundland woman who was stabbed 33 times by her husband and survived, has died of cancer.

Nippard died Friday after a 10-year battle with the disease. She was 54.

Nippard was stabbed in the face, stomach and back by Llewellyn Nippard in July 1990. He left her for dead at their home in Lewisporte.

She lived, and went on to make victims' rights her personal crusade.

Nippard was brave and courageous, yet humble, says her friend Joyce Hancock, president of the province's Advisory Council on the Status of Women.

Hancock says Nippard raised awareness of how victims suffer long after their physical wounds have healed.

"She's a role model, not just for survivors of violence, but she should be a reminder for all those people who want Newfoundland and Labrador to be a safe equal place that we got a hell of a lot to do yet," Hancock says.

Llewellyn Nippard was sentenced to life in prison for the attempted murder of Nellie, but he was eligible for parole after seven years.

Fought for standing at hearings

She spent the next decade fighting for the rights of victims like herself to attend parole hearings and read prepared statements.

When her ex-husband was denied parole in June 2001, Nippard said she would feel safe for another two years.

In an interview at the time, she said the decision of the National Parole Board was a relief.

"I know what he would do if he got out and I just want time to live like anybody else," she said.

Doctors had told the hearing that Llewellyn Nippard was at high risk to reoffend.

A psychiatric assessment showed that he suffers from pathological jealousy with little hope of recovery.

Lived in fear

His ex-wife said she lived in constant fear of his release.

She is credited with raising the profile of victims' rights across the country.

She was instrumental in convincing Ottawa to let victims attend parole hearings and read statements.

She was trying to convince Ottawa to provide funding for victims to go to parole hearings.

Victims have to pay their own way if they want to attend. The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador paid Nippard's way to New Brunswick for his 2001 parole hearing when she couldn't afford to go on her own.

Nippard also fought for changes in how police respond to victims of stalking.

Nippard's life was full of personal tragedy.

She nursed her second husband as he died of cancer, while battling the disease herself for more than 10 years.

Her funeral is this afternoon in Birchy Bay.