Blog dedicated primarily to randomly selected news items; comments reflecting personal perceptions

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Preparing To Die

"I thought I'm not going to come out of this alive. I was scared I'm, either going to be dead at the end of this all or I'm going to be in a coma. I didn't have any faith at all."
"I realized there was no way to escape."
"I was scared he'd hit me again."
"You're crazy. You don't love me. This is obsession [she told him]."
"I didn't want any problems and I didn't think it would escalate."
Harmony Nhin, abduction and violence victim

"Shut the f--- up. I don't want to have to do this to you."
"I deserve to kill you, and you deserve to die."
Andrew Bettencourt, 22, Ottawa
Andrew Bettencourt allegedly abducted an ex-girlfriends in a terrifying January ordeal. TWITTER PHOTO
She was 18 years old, her father a city police officer. Before she fully realized the trouble she was in, a police officer had approached her vehicle with her boyfriend at the wheel, and noticed her black eye. The policeman enquired whether the black eye had been 'recently acquired'. There must have been some residual regard for the young man sitting beside her in the driver's seat of her BMW, to have her respond in the negative, so that they could move on.

At that juncture she had managed to convince Andrew Bettencourt that they would, after all, renew their intimate relationship, although she had earlier been adamant that their relationship was over, for good. That, though, was before he had threatened her and she began to fear for her life as he became violently abusive. At the point where the policeman had approached the car she was in the process of dropping him off at a bus stop located at a large mall.

The policeman was concerned that they were illegally parked, but then his focus turned to concern for her welfare, a very young woman with an aggrieved appearing male, and the young woman showing evidence that violence had occurred. With her dismissal, however, not wanting to cause problems for the young man, the police officer had little option but to move on.
Ottawa Police Service Logo
Ottawa Police Service. (QMI Agency File Photo)
Earlier in the day he had prodded and coaxed her after she had informed him she no longer wished to continue seeing him, that they should meet one last time in recognition of the relationship they had shared. She agreed, and gave him the wheel of her vehicle, as a gesture to the past. But when she repeated what she had previously told him that she had no intention of resuming their relationship he raged and drove wildly.

In her fear, she attempted to take possession of the wheel, to persuade him to pull over rather than continue driving erratically. And the second intimation of the trouble she was in then struck her. Compelling her through her fear of him to say whatever she thought he wanted to hear. She said she loved him and was sorry that she had displayed such mistrust in his motives by grabbing the wheel; she was in fact, anxious that they resume their relationship.

At the mall where the bus stop was stationed she succumbed and blurted out the truth, that she no longer would see him, that their relationship was well and truly over; his behaviour was not normal and obviously frightening to her. After the attempted intervention by the police officer, she drove home, showered, then left the house to meet a friend at an assigned spot. Never realizing that he was there, as she pulled out of the driveway.

Her estranged boyfriend leaped onto her car's hood, pried open the driver's door, forced her into the passenger seat and drove off, as she screamed for help. He grasped the back of her neck to still her shouting, pushing her head into his lap as he drive. Then he began to thrust her head against the dashboard, by now inflicting real pain, along with the terror. At an intersection she was able to roll down the passenger-side window.

Two women, responding to her desperate screams pulled open the car door and attempted to drag her free of the car, but the man grasped her hair and hauled her back into the car, speeding off with her legs dangling outside the car door, the women shouting after her that they were calling 911. Arriving at a rural destination, he demanded sex as he informed her his intention was to have her pregnant, then they would live together.

When he took possession of her cellphone he read text messages, some from another man. He began screaming and repeatedly punched her head, face and body, while she pleaded with him to stop. Then he informed her he intended to drive to another province, while she complained of dizziness and pain, and the need to have medical care.

Driving along the highway, car lights off, at speeds of 160 to 180 km/h they reached Brockville. At which point he forced sex upon her again, videoing it, then had her speak on the video to inform anyone who might be interested that she was safe and had gone with the now-berserk man of her own free will. But at that juncture her abduction had become news and police were alerted and looking for them.

He had her make telephone calls: "He told me to say it was all a big misunderstanding and to call off the (police) search." One of those calls was handed over to a police officer who then informed her that she would soon be rescued. During a second such call on speaker phone with an officer at the other end, she managed to mention an identifiable road sign, alerting police to their whereabouts.

Driving north on Highway 416 after she had convinced the man to drop her off at a friend's house so that police would no longer search him out with her release, police arrived, halting them from proceeding with several squad cars surrounding them, and took him under arrest, weapons drawn.

Andrew Bettencourt was charged with kidnapping, forcible confinement and assault.

He is now on trial at Ottawa's Elgin Street courthouse.

This story is a cautionary tale. It is a tale told time and again. One that warns by example young women to carefully assess the characteristics of young men with whom they forge intimate relationships. Signs of a controlling, jealous nature should never be set aside in the hope that such behaviour will not be repeated. It always is. And all too often ends in death for the trusting and the vulnerable.

Perhaps the saddest part of such a tale is that there is no end of young men whose values are such that they respect others, would never dream of imposing themselves with any degree of offensive behaviour on others. These are usually the overlooked ones, young men who aren't flashy and self-promoting, all too often unattractive to the aspirations of young women looking for someone to fulfill their dreams.

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