A man was sentenced to life imprisonment for driving a van he rented into the faces of dozens of people in a busy Toronto street.
Alek Minassian was convicted last year of 16 counts of attempted murder and 10 counts of first degree murder in connection to the attack of 23 April 2018.
Minassian, then 25 years old, drove into eight women and two men, angered at women who wouldn’t have sex and radicalised via hateful websites.
A 11th woman, who died from injuries sustained that day, died three years later. However, she was alive when Minassian was convicted. This meant that her case was included in the charges of attempted murder.
Justice Anne Molloy of Toronto’s Superior Court stated that Minassian will be eligible for parole after 25-years and that the “number” and “embarrassment” of his crimes would have to be considered at that time.
The judge heard the emotional testimony of survivors and loved ones who lost their loved ones in the attack before she sentenced him.
Some survivors and others who witnessed the incident told the court that they had provided first aid to the victims.
They talked about feeling guilty that they had survived and for not saving more people.
“I cannot understand this horrible, cowardly act”
Tanya Kouzos tried to save victims as well and stated: “I live with this thought: ‘Was it more I could do to help?’
“It’s guilt, and remorse that I still feel, even though [the attack] was caused by someone else’s bad choices.”
Others who survived the tragedy spoke out about the psychological and physical damage they suffered, while the relatives of the deceased described the grief at losing their loved ones.
Janice Kirby’s mother Geraldine Brady was also among the victims. She said that her heart breaks every day.
“I cannot understand this cowardly, horrific act.”
“She was always hopeful that things would improve.”
Amaresh Tesfamariam was a refugee from Eritrea who was a nurse and died after spending more than three years in the hospital.
Her niece explained to the court that Ms Tesfamariam was left a quadriplegic after the attack. She also said that she would always, always inquire about the families of the victims.
“She believed that things would improve.”
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported that the judge said to them, “You’ve reached my heart and touched me in an extremely profound way.”
Minassian sat staring at the ground for much of the hearing and refused to speak up when the judge allowed him.