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Rape victim faces attacker at National Parole Board hearing in Saskatoon

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SASKATOON - Tracey Walsh vividly recalls the night nearly 30 years ago when she was raped and left to die, tied-up naked in a ditch outside Winnipeg. She was 15 and had been on her way to a babysitting job with a teenaged friend. While waiting at a bus stop, the girls accepted a ride from a stranger. Walsh woke up in the ditch, clothesline wire choking her neck, and hopped three kilometres to glowing lights of a nearby house seeking help. Now 44, the Manitoba woman appeared Wednesday at Saskatoon's regional psychiatric centre to again face her attacker and demand that he stay behind bars. The board agreed and denied both day and full parole release to 57-year-old Edwin Proctor. "I was a child and he took away that child - someone else came out alive and a fighter," Walsh said while standing outside the facility following the hearing. "I'm just really happy that he's staying where he is. That everyone once again is safe." Proctor is serving a life sentence for the attacks on both Walsh and her friend in'79, as well as the first-degree murder of 21-year-old Catherine Cluney a few weeks earlier. He was convicted of the crimes in'95, after spending a decade in a mental health facility unfit to stand trial. Years earlier, Walsh asked the courts to remove a publication ban on her name so she could publicly share her story. "I'm not just a statistic. I have a name. I have a face," she said. "I had to make the stigma go away." Walsh said her friend who was similarly attacked by Proctor has chosen to keep her name out of the spotlight. The woman now has children and is doing well with her life. Walsh has suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and depression and is on disability from work. Clutching the hand of her fiance, Steven Tymchuk, Walsh said she is now planning a wedding. The pair live a quiet life together on a lakeshore near Winnipeg. Walsh last saw Proctor when he was first up for parole in 2006. At that hearing, Proctor told officials he heard voices telling him to kill his victims. A report found Proctor began hearing voices between the ages of eight and 10. He was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, borderline personality disorder and has substance abuse problems. The board then ruled he had an unstable mental state and posed a risk to reoffend. Bernard Pitre, a spokesman for the National Parole Board, said Wednesday the board was again not satisfied that Proctor's risk could be managed in the community. Proctor also needs close supervision to address his mental health issues, he said. A report issued by the board later Wednesday said Proctor is a suspect in similar unsolved crimes in Edmonton. A request was recently made for his DNA. Walsh said that during the hearing Proctor confirmed he has provided a DNA sample to authorities. Proctor also told the board he blames the victims for his crimes. Walsh said she will continue her crusade to keep him in prison and plans to appear each time he goes up for parole. His next parole review is scheduled for 2010. "He has shown once again that he has not changed at all in 29 years," said Walsh. "He was a killer. He is a killer, and he will always be a killer."

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 6, 2008 $sourceSection$sourcePage

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