'Reign of terror' case hears sentencing submissions in Windsor court
A Windsor man will be going to prison for kidnapping and assault in a crime described by prosecutors as a "reign of terror.”
Thomas Manuel, 43, appeared in Superior Court Tuesday after pleading guilty to kidnapping, assault, forcible confinement, threatening death, choking and assault with a weapon.
Manuel was charged after a Windsor woman was taken from her home in July 2016, but managed to escape at a truck stop on Highway 401 near Woodstock.
The victim took the stand on Tuesday to start Manuel’s sentencing hearing.
The adult female, who cannot be identified under a publication ban, told the court she suffers from crippling fear since the incident that started over an argument about patio stones.
Crown attorney Scott Kerwin says Manuel tied her hands and feet, taped her to a pole and shoved a rag in her mouth. Kerwin says Manuel then put a twine-like rope around her neck. He says it was a noose thrown over the rafter. The woman told police Manuel said to her “you're not going to make it out alive.”
Court also heard Manuel untied the woman and forced her out of the house and into the car by putting a knife up her nostril. Manuel tied the woman’s hands and neck to the car's headrest and drove out of Windsor, saying “if you think this is suffering, wait ‘till we get where we're going.”
Kerwin says the woman believed she was being taken to a lime mine pit to be killed.
But at a truck stop on the 401, Manuel went to pay for gas and the woman managed to get free and jumped in the driver seat. She started doing figure eight's to get attention and was stopped by a stranger who boxed her car in. Manuel came out and fled when the stranger called police.
In her victim impact statement, the woman didn't talk about the incident itself. But says her life is riddled with anxiety and even the simplest of tasks are so daunting they are not able to be completed.
Ever since Manuel was granted bail, the woman claims she has not been able to work and lives a life of fear and paranoia. She told the court “if I see the same person twice, I wonder why they won't leave me alone.”
Defence lawyer Rae-Anne Copat says Manuel has had a difficult life. His father killed his infant sister and he then lived in foster care. Manuel also has a criminal record, including 10 convictions when he was a youth. He hasn't worked since 2011 after the mine he was working in collapsed.
Copat says Manuel also suffered serious injuries to his face, where his teeth were knocked out and he had to have a steel rod inserted in his back.
Copat admitted the crime was violent but asked Justice Pamela Hebner to consider it wasn't a planned attack, no guns were involved and the woman didn't suffer any lasting physical injuries
The defence is asking for a jail sentence of four to five years, while the Crown is seeking a term of eightt to ten years.
A date for that has not been set for sentencing.