PENTICTON - Two RCMP officers recalled a 2011 assault of a young woman at a second-hand store, during the dangerous offender hearing and sentencing of David Bobbitt today in Penticton Supreme Court.
Cpl. Jill Wrigglesworth was called to Dave’s Second Hand Shop on Ellis St. the night of July 31, 2011 after the car of a missing woman had been found across the street. Wrigglesworth and her partner entered the store from the back door, and went inside the unlit building. The light of her flashlight revealed a young woman who “didn’t even look like a person at the time,” Wrigglesworth said through tears.
The girl's hair was matted with blood, and her skin was stained red. There was blood all around her—her hands were stained red and there was blood crusted between her toes, a detail Wrigglesworth noticed when she bent down to untie the blue twine that bound the woman to the hide-a-bed she sat on. She was naked except for a blanket clutched to her chest. Wrigglesworth recalled extensive bruising on the woman’s forearms—the result of her holding her 22-month-old son while Bobbitt beat her.
Wrigglesworth spoke to the woman and calmed her down while they waited for paramedics to arrive on scene. Paramedics were shocked by the appearance of the woman, said Wrigglesworth, who rode to the hospital in the ambulance.
While he didn’t see it for himself, the undercover officer, who cannot be named, heard about the beating that day from Bobbitt himself. The officer was a “cell plant,” an undercover mission where he shared a cell with Bobbitt at the Penticton RCMP Detachment, dressed in plain clothes and acting like another prisoner.
Bobbitt opened up to the cell plant, but not before he threatened him. One of the first things Bobbitt said was he should kill the plant by biting out his Adam’s apple to "prove how dangerous he really is", the officer said.
“It’s a threat that goes right down into my core,” said the officer, who said he has shared cells with murderers, cartel members and gangsters.
He has never received a threat “so quickly and so abrupt,” he said.
The men established a mutual understanding after the threats were made, and Bobbitt began to talk extensively about how violent he was. He told the undercover officer his lawyer told him he’d get seven to 10 years “unless they find the others.” The officer said he followed that comment with a “cocky laugh like he was proud they hadn’t found the others.”
Bobbitt told the officer he held captive a 22-year-old woman and her 22-month-old son, and hit her over the head with a rubber hammer, the officer recalled. He said Bobbitt told the story with ease, laughing, but not like someone told a funny joke.
While he was open about the violent acts, Bobbitt didn’t mention a sexual assault, which he was charged with and later pleaded guilty to.
“Sexual assaults aren't kosher to talk about,” in cells, the officer said.
During the few hours they spent together, the officer said Bobbitt spoke of other violent crimes, including “doing in” a nurse and doctor, a dead man in a freezer at an undisclosed location, and an incident from his youth when, at 16, he and a girlfriend left a party in Trail, B.C. covered in blood.
The officer didn’t sleep that night out of fear for his life. He compared his level of fear to another undercover case when he was held captive in a house with weapons pointed at his head, and his support team 15 minutes away. In the cells, there was safety no less than 30 seconds away.
The hearing and sentencing will resume Monday at 2 p.m. in Penticton Supreme Court. Crown prosecutors expect the hearing to be done in October. Justice Peter Rogers will then evaluate the evidence and decide whether Bobbitt is a dangerous offender, and also sentence him for an incident in 2011. A dangerous offender is a person considered to be an extreme threat to the public based on a longstanding history of violence.
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