Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Judge weighs fate of kidnapper

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The fate of a man accused of kidnapping a disabled woman off the street and raping her in August 2011 is in the hands of the trial judge.

Justice Christopher Martin reserved his decision late Wednesday afternoon on the sentence to be imposed on Norman Cook.

The Crown wants a 10-year sentence while Cook's defence says five years is appropriate.

Cook, 40, was found guilty in February of kidnapping, sexual assault and choking to overcome resistance.

A 43-year-old woman, whose arm was in a cast, was hobbling with the aid of crutches along Main Street in the North End just after 2 a.m. when Cook jumped her, dragged her off the street and into his nearby apartment on Austin Street.

Once inside, Cook blocked his door with his fridge, repeatedly beat her and forced her to engage in sex.

"It was a violent and unprovoked attack on a defenceless person," Crown prosecutor Mitchell Lavitt said.

Lavitt said the woman was able to eventually flee the apartment, running onto Main Street naked from the waist down She called police from a pay phone. Placed in a cruiser car, the victim curled up into the fetal position, Lavitt said, traumatized and shaken.

"It was everyone's worst nightmare," Lavitt said. "A woman's, a husband's, a parent's."

Lavitt said the attack has had a crushing effect on the woman, who suffers regular nightmares, is unable to go out alone and continues to suffer physical pain.

Cook's criminal record, which dates back to 1987, includes several convictions for violent offences.

The attack occurred after the break-up of a 10-year-relationship, defence lawyer Theodore Mariash said, when Cook fell into a bout of heavy drinking.

Martin reserved sentencing until April 22.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 11, 2013 B3

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