OTTAWA — An offer of a free SUV from an affectionate stranger at 5 a.m. was too good to pass up, a man on trial for attacking an Ottawa couple in their home with a pair of knives testified Monday.
Little did Richard Blake know the vehicle he had just been handed had just been stolen in a home invasion on Rideout Crescent where homeowners François Renaud and Amalle Thomas had been held captive for hours. Renaud was stabbed 20 times; Thomas had her throat slashed. Both survived.
Blake explained that he was thirsty for milk after a sleepless night and was on his way to the corner store when he had a chance encounter with the stranger, who gave him a big chest-to-chest hug on a narrow pathway.
The man promised him there was nothing wrong with the SUV, said Blake.
A “naive” Blake said he was skeptical at first, but soon convinced himself it was a good idea.
“I was pretty excited about it,” said Blake. “Free car, you know. Never had one before.”
“The excitement of the car won out over the skepticism that the car could be stolen,” he said.
Blake said he couldn’t remember what the stranger’s face looked like.
Prosecutor Meaghan Cunningham suggested the man must have looked a lot like him, because both Renaud and Thomas picked Blake out of a photo lineup as their attacker.
Blake said he then asked the man if he wanted a ride. The man said he did, but Blake wanted to pack a bag for a spur-of-the-moment trip home to Campbellford, Ont., first.
When he came back down from his apartment, the man was gone, but the keys were sitting on the hood of the SUV.
Blake said he tossed his bag inside and started driving.
Blake said he took off his Toronto Blue Jays cap and replaced it with a black Blue Jays toque he found on the front seat — even though his parents had always warned him about head lice.
Renaud told police the attacker wore a Blue Jays toque.
“I put it on my head. It was the first thing I did. I guess it was stupid,” said Blake.
Blake then started rummaging through a pile of items on the front seat when he noticed two bloody knives.
Blake said he touched one of the knives and a pair of bloody gloves, perhaps explaining how his DNA got mixed with the victims’ blood. Blake’s DNA was also on the toque.
Despite the disturbing find, Blake said, he kept driving westbound on Hwy. 417 toward Campbellford in the SUV he planned to keep “forever”, even when police cars with their lights on surrounded him.
He was “kind of freaking out” and hit one of the cruisers before driving across the median and ditching the SUV.
“My brain kind of shut off,” said Blake, who ran into the woods.
“I realized, Why am I running? I have nothing to run from. I’ve done nothing wrong,” said Blake.
Blake said he “ended up stopping and waiting” but decided to climb six metres up a tree because he was being “attacked” by black flies.
The trial continues Tuesday.
Good luck with the jury, homeslice.
source: http://www.ottawacitizen.com/cars/Stran ... story.html