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Vicious sex assault changed life, says victim

Dorothy Westerman
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Mar 13/06) - A Fort Good Hope woman who was brutally attacked during an hours-long sexual assault last fall says life will never be the same for her.

In NWT Supreme Court last week, her attacker was sentenced to 14 years in prison after pleading guilty to sexual assault.

Adrian Happy Kelly, 37, was ordered to spend at least seven years in a federal penitentiary before he's eligible for parole.

According to a victim impact statement filed with the court, the woman described the Sept. 22, 2005 attack as "the worst thing I've ever had to go through."

"I feel like I won't ever be the same because of the trauma."

The woman also wrote she fears being attacked again and has had thoughts of suicide because of the assault.

"When I'm alone I'm always looking over my shoulder wondering when the attack's going to happen."

Justice Ted Richard said the victim sustained severe psychological trauma which she still suffers from to this day. The assault left her with cuts on her nose and under her left eye; damage inside her mouth, including two loose teeth; severe bruising on her face; a fractured nose and a fractured left orbital bone causing a permanent reduction of vision.

She also suffers from low self-esteem because of scars on her face and insomnia, nightmares and panic attacks, all related to the incident.

"That is a summary of the horrible circumstances of Mr. Kelly's crime," Richard said.

According to evidence in court, the attack occurred after Kelly offered the woman a ride home. He drove her to a secluded area about four kilometres from Fort Good Hope and attacked her for several hours.

During the attack, he punched her in the face and made several references to killing the victim, asking her if "she wanted to die now or later" and telling her he would "take her body out into the bush where no one would find it."

She managed to escape at one point, only to be chased down, kicked and dragged back into the van by her hair.

"The victim was fearful of her very life. She was praying while she was being attacked," said Richard. "She pleaded for her life and promised she would not tell anyone what happened."

Richard said the only mitigating factor in the assault was the guilty plea by the defendant.

"But for his plea, he could face the maximum sentence of life in prison."

Kelly spent five years in prison on a charge of sexual assault with a weapon dating back to September 1993.

Richard ordered Kelly to provide a DNA sample, and imposed a lifetime firearms ban. Kelly has also been added to the national sex offenders registry.