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'He asked me if I was afraid of him now'
The RNC officer said he could tell as soon as he walked into the Mount Pearl home that some sort of altercation had taken place.
Called to the residence one afternoon last March to a report of a domestic assault, he saw pictures off the walls, a hole in the bathroom door and a white substance he thought might be mayonnaise splattered on the bathroom floor.
Outside in a patrol car with another officer sat a woman, red-faced and distraught. He had asked her to stay there for the moment while he made sure the suspect wasn't still inside the house.
The same woman took the witness stand in provincial court in St. John's Wednesday, telling the court she had been attacked by her then-boyfriend, 28-year-old Tim Blake, who assaulted her, pushed her down, choked her and threatened to cut off her legs.
The woman said she and Blake, whom she had been dating for a few months, had been arguing that day. He wanted her to go with him to a methadone clinic appointment, she said, but she didn't want to go. A female friend of his was also in the home at the time.
"I was cleaning up the house and I walked in my bedroom. He came in behind me and closed the door and he asked me if I was afraid of him now," the woman testified.
She said she told Blake a couple of days earlier that she was afraid when he walked behind her, because she didn't know what he would do.
"I was afraid that he wasn't going to let go." — Complainant
The woman said Blake grabbed her by the face, demonstrating by using one hand to pinch her own cheeks together. She pushed past him and went into the bathroom, she said, before he came to the door and threw something — she wasn't sure what, but thought it could have been whipped cream or yogurt — at her. As she tried to get away she slipped on it, she said.
"Did you have an avenue to get out?" prosecutor Richard Deveau asked.
"Not so much, but I was giving it a shot," the woman replied.
She said she managed to get back on her feet before Blake pushed her chest, sending her to the floor on her back and knocking the wind out of her.
The woman said she got back up and went to the living room, where Blake grabbed her by the neck with both hands and choked her. She heard Blake's friend call out and tell him, "That's enough, let's go." The friend then went out to the car, she said.
"I was afraid that he wasn't going to let go," the woman testified, holding back tears. "I was hoping he'd leave with (his friend) for his methadone appointment."
The woman said she went to the porch to put on her boots and leave the house, but Blake closed the door each time she opened it, telling her she wasn't going and threatening to cut off her legs. When he left to answer his ringing phone, the woman said, she ran outside and down the street, approaching a neighbour and asking her to call police.
Blake sat in the dock with a notebook and pen as the woman testified, often leaning forward to whisper to his lawyer, Tim O'Brien.
At one point early in Wednesday's proceedings, O'Brien told his client, "You've got to let me do my job."
Two RNC officers testified they walked through he residence after ensuring Blake was not there, and found a chair in a bedroom closet under the attic hatch, which was open. In the closet was a box of tools that was suspected to be related to a separate RCMP investigation, they said.
The woman said she went back to her home later in the day with a male relative to get some belongings, and Blake was there. Police were called and he was arrested.
Weeks later, the woman said, Blake asked to come to her home and talk.
"I'm not sure if I wanted to give him another chance or just to hear him out. I don't know what I was thinking," she told the court, saying she had agreed to let him come over.
They both sometimes used Ritalin and cocaine, she said, and they had plans to do drugs that day.
"He came over and he wanted me to write a letter saying I had made up what happened on March 8th, that I had been under the influence and didn't know what I was doing, basically excusing him for the charges," the complainant testified. "I didn't want to, because I would have been lying. I didn't write the letter."
The woman said she later moved to a different neighbourhood and had been getting out of bed on the morning of May 4 when she heard Blake knocking on her front door and calling out angrily for her to let him in. When she refused, he went to the back door and tried to open it, then returned to the front, telling her he would call people to come and "finish her off." The woman said she called her cousin, who called police.
"I was walking down my hallway and as soon as I took the turn in front of the kitchen, he was in front of me. I don't know how he got there, I never saw him come in," the woman told the court. "He grabbed me by my hand and tried to bend my fingers backward. He also grabbed me by the mouth and pressed hard with his two fingers."
"What were you feeling?" Deveau asked.
"I felt weak, helpless. Fear," the woman said, blinking back tears.
She heard police sirens outside after that, she said.
A forensic police officer told the court she attended the woman's home that day and noticed the back door closing mechanism had been broken. A curtain from the door window had been removed and laid on the kitchen table, she said, and there were three muddy footprints on the outside of the door.
Comparing them to the Nike sneakers Blake was wearing when he was arrested that day, the officer said she had been able to conclude only that Blake's sneakers were a "possible contributor" to the footprints. There was no mud on the floor inside the door, she testified.
Blake has pleaded not guilty to 20 charges, including assault, assault with a weapon, forcible confinement, uttering threats, choking, breaking and entering with the intent to commit a crime, flight from police, driving while prohibited, dangerous driving and breaching court orders.
He is also facing charges of possessing property obtained by crime, mischief by damaging property and theft.
His three-day trial is set to continue Thursday before Judge Mike Madden.