Defence lawyer Tonii Roulston speaks to the media in Red Deer, Alta., Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

‘I am a survivor:’ Sexual assault victim tells court

The woman’s victim impact statement was read in an Alberta courtroom today

An Alberta woman who was so badly beaten during a sexual assault that she had to learn how to walk and talk again says there have been times when she wished her attacker had “finished her off.”

The woman’s victim impact statement was read in a Lethbridge courtroom at the sentencing hearing of Denzel Dre Colton Bird.

Bird, who is 21, pleaded guilty last fall to striking the then-25-year-old woman from behind with a metal pipe, dragging her into an alley and sexually assaulting her while she was walking to work in September 2016.

The blows caused multiple skull fractures and fractured her facial bones as well.

The woman, who was in a separate courtroom with her family, said she struggles with her emotions, has trouble with her balance and contracted a sexually transmitted disease from Bird.

She said her life has been changed forever.

“I am not the same person I was,” she said in her statement. “It all seems like a horrible story I went through, but I have no memory.”

However, she added that she is glad to have survived.

“I’m more alive than ever. He hasn’t taken away my will to live. I am a survivor.”

A passerby discovered the woman, partially naked and stuffed into a garbage can, and she was taken to hospital with life-threatening injuries. She was in a medically induced coma for weeks in a Calgary hospital. She was released a year ago and her family has said she continues to recover, although she has no memory of the attack.

Police have said there was no apparent connection between Bird and his victim.

Bird pleaded guilty last September to aggravated sexual assault and break and enter.

The maximum sentence for aggravated sexual assault is life in prison.

The Canadian Press

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