North

Anablak handed 15-year prison sentence for Iqaluit killing

A Nunavut judge has handed Iqaluit resident Pat Anablak the equivalent of a 15-year prison sentence for manslaughter, in connection to the killing of his common-law spouse in 2004.

A Nunavut judge has handed Iqaluit resident Pat Anablak the equivalent of a 15-year prison sentence for manslaughter, in connection to the killing of his common-law spouse nearly four years ago.

Justice Robert Kilpatrick handed down the sentence Thursday morning, after Anablak pleaded guilty earlier this month to strangling Sylvia Lyall-Ritchie, 41, to death in June 2004.

Anablak, 54, had been in custody in Iqaluit's Baffin Correctional centre for about 39 months prior to Thursday's sentence, when Kilpatrick sentenced him to another 10 years behind bars in a federal penitentiary yet to be determined.

The Crown had called for 9½ years on top of his time in custody, while the defence had asked for eight years.

More than a dozen family members and friends of Lyall-Ritchie gathered in the Nunavut Court of Justice for the sentencing, and several wept as Kilpatrick went through Anablak's long, violent history of abuse against her.

Reading from a written statement, Kilpatrick spoke of the numerous escalating assaults Lyall-Ritchie endured at the hands of Anablak.

He also mentioned the light sentences Anablak received for those abusive incidents, despite numerous breaches of both a peace bond and release conditions.

Kilpatrick said Lyall-Ritchie looked to Anablak for love and emotional support, but received fear, anxiety and pain in return.

The judge stated that Anablak betrayed love itself with his drinking and abuse. While Lyall-Ritchie gave her common-law spouse many chances to change, he added, she ended up paying for her patience and forgiveness with her life.

In giving his sentence, Kilpatrick acknowledged to Lyall-Ritchie's family that no amount of jail time for Anablak would make up for their loss.