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Suspect in cemetery sex attack in court

TORONTO - A man charged with attempted murder in the sexual attack of a woman in a cemetery this week in Toronto appeared in court Thursday with a slew of cuts and scratches on his head and face and blood on his prison jumpsuit.

TORONTO - A man charged with attempted murder in the sexual attack of a woman in a cemetery this week in Toronto appeared in court Thursday with a slew of cuts and scratches on his head and face and blood on his prison jumpsuit.

Russell Kirkpatrick, 44, of Toronto, also charged with aggravated sexual assault, made his first court appearance Thursday morning after being arrested the day before.

He is "known to police," said Det.-Sgt. Corinne Bellon of the Toronto police sex crimes unit, but she wouldn't elaborate.

Police say a 61-year-old woman was attacked, beaten and sexually assaulted at the Pine Hills Cemetery on Monday while visiting a family gravesite. She is still in hospital in stable condition with serious injuries, police said.

"It was, as all crimes in our unit, very shocking," Bellon said.

The tall man with long, blond hair wore an orange prison-issue jumpsuit and was remanded into custody. He stared at the ground during the brief appearance and kept his hands clasped in front of him.

Kirkpatrick's lawyer, Tyler Smith, said outside court that his client has indicated he is in a great deal of physical pain.

"All that we know for sure is that he does have obvious visible injuries on his face and body, and there is plenty of blood on his (prison jumpsuit)," he said.

Smith said there were cuts and scratches on Kirkpatrick's face, ear, head and cheek, but that he can't say for certain how, when or where he got those injuries. He did say they looked fresh.

Bellon could not comment on the injuries of the accused or his current physical condition.

She did say a combination of "inquiries" within the police service and tips from the community led to Kirkpatrick's arrest, and investigators continue to seek information from the public.

"(We) would like to speak to anyone who has had contact with Kirkpatrick any time from Monday July 12 to the time of his arrest," Bellon said.

During the attack the woman was dragged off a path, beaten and sexually assaulted, police said. The attack reportedly happened some time after 5 p.m. Monday, but the victim was not found until around 9:30 p.m.

Kirkpatrick is anxious to learn the details of allegations against him, his lawyer said. He is set to return to court on July 19 at 9 a.m.

Smith said his client would not seek a bail hearing, due to his "personal circumstances and the seriousness of the offences."

 
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