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This article was published 4/6/2014 (726 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
LEFT virtually unsupervised at the age of 14, a Winnipeg youth’s constant partying and consumption of drugs and alcohol turned him into a runaway train, justice officials say.
When he finally came off the rails, it led to a random, brutal rape and robbery of an Elmwood teen — leaving the girl and her family devastated.
That’s what a Manitoba judge heard Wednesday as a Crown prosecutor explained what likely triggered such a horrific and life-altering crime.
"He did something so horrible — so horrible — to a young girl," prosecutor Dan Angus said.
"This is a brutal home invasion of an innocent… the facts couldn’t get much worse."
The offender, who cannot be identified because of his age, previously pleaded guilty to robbery with violence and sexual assault with a weapon.
He used a hammer to bash his way through the front door of the home on Feb. 9, 2013, hoping to steal a television. Instead of taking the TV and leaving, he confronted the 17-year-old victim as she hid in her bedroom.
The boy took away her cellphone and seriously sexually assaulted her. He then dragged the terrified girl through the home and raped her again.
The victim called 911 when she heard the break-in occurring, so police were on the way as the assault took place. Officers witnessed part of the final assault before the boy ran away.
Police followed a trail of property he dropped and arrested him about two blocks away.
"He was literally caught in the act by the police," Angus told provincial court Judge Tracey Lord.
For the most part, the victim is unable to talk about what happened, court heard. She’s also now scared to be at home or away from it.
"I now feel numb, hopeless and have mood swings that I cannot control," she wrote, in a victim impact statement.
"I’m not feeling comfortable in my own neighbourhood."
Her family, described in court as "very nice people," also remain shocked, fearful and guilt-ridden by what happened. They’ve since moved to another part of the city.
The random attack happened just after the girl’s brother had left the house and her parents were on their way back from the lake.
"Our beautiful daughter was tortured and violated in a way that no person should," her parents wrote in their impact statement. "We are continually tormented by what we could have done to keep our daughter safe.
"They say that time heals all wounds, but the wounds created by that boy will linger with us forever."
The boy didn’t suffer from any mental- health issues or sexual-offending disorders, court was told. He came from an unstable background, exposed to violence and substance abuse.
At the time of the attack he was drunk and high on drugs.
"He was like a freight train, out of control," Angus said. "And that freight train unfortunately crashed into their residence on that night… you can’t explain it other than that."
Angus and defence lawyer Sandra Bracken agree the teen should receive the maximum youth sentence.
The three-year term would not factor into the 16 months he’s served waiting to deal with his case. The only issue to be decided is whether his jail time should be spent in secure or "open" custody. The latter allows him to earn temporary passes away from jail aimed at helping in his rehabilitation.
The boy is still shocked by what he did, Bracken suggested.
He told a psychologist he didn’t view himself as "that kind of person," said Bracken.
The Crown previously indicated it was considering seeking an adult sentence in the case, but withdrew the application after pre-sentencing reports came back.
The youth has no prior record.
The prosecutor urged Lord to impose secure custody for the teen, saying he remains a high risk to reoffend and needs consistent, close monitoring.
Lord will give her decision on July 3.