Couple who raped and killed teacher says 'sorry' to her family

ST. THOMAS, Ont. -- A couple whose depraved sexual appetites led them to brutally murder and rape an Ontario teacher they picked up on the side of the road three years ago apologized to the woman's grief-stricken family Thursday as they prepared to spend the rest of their lives behind bars.

See Full Article

Tanya Bogdanovich, 34, and Michael MacGregor, 22, chose to face Noelle Paquette's family and friends in a packed St. Thomas courtroom as they took turns voicing their remorse for the gruesome killing that sent shockwaves through southwestern Ontario.

Though both said they wished they could reverse their actions and bring Paquette back to life, neither shed light on what fuelled their violent plan -- a plot that initially focused on a teenage girl but shifted to the Sarnia teacher by a twist of circumstance.

Nor did they ask for forgiveness.

"I want to say sorry, I know I can't change or take back what I've done no matter how much I wish I could," said MacGregor, who addressed the court first. "What I did was terrible and because of it Noelle is gone, when instead she should still be with you."

"I'm not asking for your forgiveness -- I don't deserve it and could never hope for it," he said.

Bogdanovich's voice broke as she acknowledged the "all-encompassing pain" caused by Paquette's murder, which she described as a "horrendous tragedy."

"One night forever changed the course of many lives and it can never be undone," she said, adding she regretted waiting so long to plead guilty.

At least one member of Paquette's family left the courtroom while Bogdanovich spoke. Others looked down and wiped tears from their eyes.

Bogdanovich and MacGregor pleaded guilty late last year to first-degree murder in the savage slaying of Paquette, a stranger they abducted on a road as she was walking home from a New Year's Eve party.

The offence carries an automatic life sentence with no chance of parole for 25 years. The pair must also be added to the DNA bank and sex offender registry and face a lifetime firearms ban. They must also refrain from contacting Paquette's family and friends.

In handing down the automatic sentence -- the most strict available under law -- Ontario Superior Court Judge Bruce Thomas said the pair's "vile and despicable" actions required them to be removed from society for most of their lives.

He noted, however, that no sentence could ease the ache of loss and stressed that Paquette's family should in no way wonder if they could have saved her from her tragic fate.

"There was no blame for any of you here," he said. "The responsibility, all of it, lies with the two people in the prisoners' boxes."

Paquette's father, Roger Paquette, said outside court that the sentence was "neither an ending nor a beginning."

"It is a message to everyone to be cautious but not afraid, to live life to the fullest and to love and be kind," he said. "Our memories of our daughter Noelle have given us the courage to live on."

Paquette was "merely in the wrong place at the wrong time," and though she tried to fight off her attackers, she was overwhelmed by their "violent sexually motivated desires," according to an agreed statement of fact read in court Wednesday.

Court heard Bogdanovich, a nurse and mother of three who was already in a relationship, met MacGregor on a social networking site for people interested in BDSM, fetishism and kink in June 2012.

Over their seven-month relationship, the couple developed increasingly savage sexual tastes, court heard.

The pair chronicled their sexual desires and activities in pictures, videos and writings and by September of that year, were discussing their fantasy of abducting and raping a teenage girl. The statement said the couple's plan fell through when their chosen target was unavailable and they decided to pick up a "random" instead.

Paquette had gone to a party with her boyfriend but stormed out after they got into a fight, court heard. She tried unsuccessfully to get a taxi and decided to walk home.

She last texted her boyfriend around 2:30 a.m., just moments before she was abducted, the statement said.

Her body was found in a woodlot on Jan. 2, 2013, less than 24 hours after she was reported missing by concerned family and friends.

An autopsy found Paquette died from the dozens of stabbing and incised wounds that perforated her heart, lungs, liver and other organs and slashed her throat.

"It was determined that she was still alive when she sustained these injuries but would have succumbed rapidly due to their severity," court heard.

Police found Bogdanovich and MacGregor by the side of the road on New Year's Day after their car broke down not far from the site of the killing.

At the time, Paquette had not been reported missing and there was no reason to suspect the couple, court heard.

Suspicion quickly turned their way once her body was found and the pair started planning their escape, only to be arrested a day later.

Lawyers for Bogdanovich and MacGregor said it's unclear what motivated their clients and that both intend to seek psychological help while in prison.

Natasha Calvinho said at sentencing that Bogdanovich had an emotionally difficult childhood that saw her placed in foster care and sexually abused -- trauma for which she never received treatment.

Bogdanovich's boyfriend, from whom she hid her relationship with MacGregor, continues to support her, Calvinho said, but "her children are going to have to grow up knowing what mom has done."



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Parents, students speak out against Nova Scotia school closures

    Canada News CBC News
    In the dispute between Nova Scotia educators and the government, parents and students in the province are taking sides — with most opting to stand firmly with teachers. On Saturday, Education Minister Karen Casey announced public schools across the province would be closed to students Monday, deeming the teachers' planned work-to-rule job action "unsafe" for students. Source
  • Death toll of Oakland, Calif., fire rises to 33 [Photos]

    World News Toronto Sun
    OAKLAND, Calif. — At least nine people died in a blaze that broke out during a party in a warehouse late Friday night in the San Francisco Bay Area, according to fire officials. Oakland Fire Chief Teresa Deloche-Reed says at least another 13 people are unaccounted for as of Saturday morning. Source
  • Physician killed, neurosurgeon husband charged with murder: 'How could this all happen?'

    Canada News CBC News
    The last time Mike Sullivan saw his friends Elana Fric-Shamji and Mohammed Shamji for dinner, the Toronto couple — both respected physicians — filled the room with laughter and finished each other's sentences. It was their typical loving, supportive persona, both in life and online. Source
  • Dakota Access Pipeline construction halted near Standing Rock reservation

    World News CBC News
    Standing Rock protesters celebrated Sunday as news broke that construction of the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline near their territory has been halted. Moria Kelley, a spokeswoman for U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, a federal agency, said in a news release Sunday that the administration will not allow the four-state, $3.8-billion pipeline to be built under Lake Oahe, a Missouri River reservoir near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. Source
  • Standing Rock protesters celebrate 'big victory' as pipeline construction halted

    World News CBC News
    Standing Rock protesters celebrated Sunday as news broke that construction of the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline near their territory has been halted. Moria Kelley, a spokeswoman for U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, a federal agency, said in a news release Sunday that the administration will not allow the four-state, $3.8-billion pipeline to be built under Lake Oahe, a Missouri River reservoir near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. Source
  • Solving the legacy of indigenous sexual abuse: think globally, act nationally

    Canada News CTV News
    Fred Kejick Thomas remembers the exact day -- April 14, 2005 -- when he confronted the uncle who had sexually molested him out on a trap line when he was four years old. After years of being haunted by flashbacks and rage, Kejick Thomas asked police to accompany him on a visit to see his uncle, where he read a letter in Ojibwa to speak his truth. Source
  • Rebels in Aleppo must leave city or face 'inevitable death,' warns Syrian army

    World News CBC News
    The Syrian army on Sunday ordered rebels in Aleppo to leave the city or face "inevitable death," as a series of airstrikes on the neighbouring Idlib province killed at least 50 people, including several children. Aleppo shook from the sound of explosions throughout the day as pro-government forces, including foreign fighters dispatched from Lebanon, Iraq, and Iran, pounded the city's opposition neighbourhoods in the east. Source
  • Trump expands list of candidates to head State Department

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- President-elect Donald Trump is expanding his pool of candidates for secretary of state, raising a question about whether former CIA Director David Petraeus' guilty plea for leaking classified information disqualifies him to serve as the nation's top diplomat. Source
  • Miniature therapy horse on the mend after cougar mauling

    Canada News CTV News
    Six-year-old miniature horse, Rio, is finally healing after a vicious cougar mauling. Rio, a therapy horse, was attacked back in November at a farm in Maple Ride, B.C. The attack by a rare black cougar left him in critical condition, with deep puncture wounds to his face, head and throat. Source
  • Thousands protest corruption, support judiciary in Brazil

    World News CTV News
    RIO DE JANEIRO -- Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets in cities across Brazil on Sunday to express disgust with public corruption and outrage at what they say are lawmakers' attempts to muzzle the judges and prosecutors pursuing those crimes. Source