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Edmonton woman violently raped played dead to stay alive: court

EDMONTON - Lying bloodied and nearly naked on the floor of her downtown condo, the 29-year-old woman had one option left.

EDMONTON - Lying bloodied and nearly naked on the floor of her downtown condo, the 29-year-old woman had one option left.

She'd just been raped in her bedroom, hacked and slashed in the face, head, hands and neck with a butcher blade until her mattress and pillows were slick with blood and the white bones of her pinky finger were exposed, in her words, like a split "chicken wing."

A violently angry, mixed-up teen loomed over her and was going to kill her, because he had a $10,000 bet that he would, she told Court of Queen's Bench on Friday.

So she played dead in the pre-dawn darkness. Lay motionless. Stared straight up at him, her eyes wide open. She dared not breathe.

He stared right back, silently weighing whether his work was finally done.

The woman, who can't be named, was testifying at the trial of Ryan Huppie, 23, who faces a charge of attempted murder and related counts of sex assault in the Feb. 17, 2004, attack on the woman, who was his next-door neighbour at the time.

Huppie is not challenging that he committed the crime, but has pleaded not guilty on the grounds he was suffering from a mental disorder and wasn't criminally responsible.

The woman, now 33, told court she was a school vice-principal, active socially and athletically, with "the world by the tail," when Huppie and five other youths moved into the condo next to her almost four years ago.

Days before the attack, a valentine asking her out and calling her a "hot babe" had been slipped under her door. The note would eventually yield a Huppie thumbprint.

The night before she was attacked, she told court, there had been loud music until almost 4:30 a.m. from the accused's place. She finally nodded off only to awake to find a figure at the foot of her bed with a meat cleaver and a long jagged knife.

He put a blade to her throat and told her, "I'm here to rape you and I'm here to kill you."

"I was in shock," she testified. "I couldn't believe this was happening in my bedroom.

"He said it was a $10,000 bet and that if he didn't (kill me), they would kill him."

The woman, who had worked with troubled youth, said persuasion was the only tool she had, and she tried to use it.

She told him she had a sexually transmitted disease, called him by the pseudonym on the valentine to build a bond and talked endlessly to him, trying to get him to see her as a person.

She promised to keep him free from harm and take him away to Vancouver - convincing him to the point he let her get dressed so they could leave. All the while she was manoeuvring him into what little light was bleeding through the window from the street below.

"I wanted to look him in the eye and see who this guy was."

Persuasion failed, however, and he eventually forced himself on her. It was then, she knew, that the end was near - and the fight was on.

"I co-operated on the rape," she said. "But I wasn't going to give him a body."

They struggled and thrashed. He smashed her head into the closet and began relentlessly pounding her skull with something blunt until she faked being dead.

He left and she called 911 to beg for help, only to have him return in a fury, beating and slashing anew, her hands hacked and mangled as she tried to save herself.

She bent her chin low to keep him from slashing her throat, steeling herself for the telltale spurt and gurgle of an opened artery.

She played dead again, she told court.

"I just lay there with my eyes wide open and I stared at him and he stared right back. You could see him thinking, 'Finally, she's dead."'

But the ordeal continued.

He left. She called 911 again, now with hands so shredded she could hardly hold the phone.

She tried to leave through her front door only to have Huppie return a third time, this time through the open patio door.

She tearfully compared the scene to a macabre Hollywood slasher movie. "It's like trying to get through that locked door before he gets to you."

She stumbled into the hallway and into the home of a neighbour. Police arrived. In hospital, she listened as they stapled her lacerated skull back together. She identified Huppie in a picture from her hospital bed.

Earlier in the day, Suzanne Huppie testified that her son Ryan showed up at her place hours after the attack, with blood all over his jacket and his sleeve, and told her, "Mom, I think I've done something wrong."

Huppie said she then saw her son's face flashed on the TV news and she took him to police.

After answering just a few questions Friday, the mother began to cry and shouted to her son sitting in the prisoner's box, saying she couldn't believe he was doing this to her.

The victim testified she has undergone therapy similar to what soldiers receive for post-traumatic stress disorder and is working hard "to lead a normal life once again."

But she can't go running alone in Edmonton's river valley and when she goes out she has friends pick her up and take her home. "There's no alone time."

Throughout her testimony, Huppie did not look at her.

She looked at him, once, when Crown prosecutor Robert Beck asked her to point out her attacker.

"Absolutely," she said, jabbing her finger towards Huppie. "Right there."

 
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