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Woman says man attacked her at St. John's bus stop

Ryan Farrell is on trial in provincial court in St. John's for reportedly attacking a woman he knew last fall at a bus stop shelter outside the Avalon Mall.
Ryan Farrell is on trial in provincial court in St. John's for reportedly attacking a woman he knew last fall at a bus stop shelter outside the Avalon Mall. - Rosie Mullaley

Ryan Farrell accused of threatening woman, grabbing her hair, stealing her purse and spitting on her

In a soft, sometimes quivering voice, a woman told a St. John's courtroom how a man she was once friends with grabbed her hair, took her small bag containing money and spit at her while she sat in a bus stop shelter.

"He came after me," she said while testifying in the trial of Ryan Farrell at provincial court in St. John's Friday. "He was very upset. He cursed at me and called me all those names he always called me."

Farrell faces six charges — assault, uttering threats, robbery and three counts of breaching probation.

The 32-year-old was arrested and charged as a result of an incident Sept. 24, 2018, at the bus stop shelter outside the Avalon Mall.

The woman said she was waiting inside the shelter when she heard Farrell yelling and cursing at her and calling her names — "baby killer, slut and whore" — as he got closer.

"He was very upset," said the woman, adding that Farrell had been sending her several text messages in the previous few months, threatening to slit her throat and break her neck.

She said Farrell was screaming at her, accusing her of stealing his sunglasses a few weeks previously and demanding she give them back.

"He was saying I was lucky he didn't hit women," she said. "He said he was lucky he didn't have his knife. … He's a man of his word when it comes to following through on things."

She said Farrell then came into the shelter, grabbed her hair with his left hand, hitting her in the head in the process, although she figured the hit was unintentional. Farrell used his right hand to rummage through her large purse to retrieve a smaller makeup-style bag inside, containing a small amount of money and some inexpensive jewelry. She said Farrell put the bag in his pocket, spit on her and walked away.

She said if she tried to escape and get out of the shelter, "it would only get worse."

The woman said that when the bus arrived minutes later, she got on and went home. She said she called the police shortly after arriving home and after several text message exchanges with Farrell.

When Crown prosecutor Richard Deveau asked if there were any people around who saw what was going on, she said there was an older woman in the shelter who got up and left quickly. She said there were other people around, but she didn't see if they were watching.

Farrell is representing himself in the trial, but John Hartery was appointed by the court to cross-examine the complainant.

Hartery asked the woman why she didn’t call the police immediately after the attack, when Farrell left.

"I just wanted to go home," she said.

She said the threatening texts continued when she got home and even when the police arrived.

"That's what made me realize I had to do something," she said. "When he said he'd do it again … I'm not going to live like that (in fear)."

Hartery pointed out that at the beginning of her testimony, she indicated it had been the left side of her head that hurt after the attack, but later admitted she made a mistake and that it was the right side.

"I misspoke the first time," she said. "It was the right side."

The woman looked nervous as she testified and avoided eye contact with Farrell, who sat staring at her with his arms folded and legs swaying.

Farrell spoke out several times during the woman's testimony, prompting Judge David Orr to warn him to be quiet.

The trial continues Monday.

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