Man who drove van into dozens of people killing 11 people, is jailed for life

A man who drove a rented van into dozens of people on a busy street in Toronto has been sentenced to life in prison.Pic: AP

Alek Minassian was found guilty last year of 10 counts of first-degree murder and 16 counts of attempted murder in relation to the attack on 23 April 2018.

Eight women and two men died when Minassian, then 25, drove into them – angered by women who would not have sex with him, and radicalized by hateful websites.

An 11th woman died more than three years later from injuries she had suffered that day, although she had still been alive when Minassian was convicted, meaning her case was among the counts of attempted murder.

Justice Anne Molloy, sitting in Toronto’s Superior Court, said that Minassian would be eligible to apply for parole after 25 years and that the “number and enormity” of his crimes would be taken into account at that point.

Before she sentenced him, the judge heard emotional testimony from survivors and relatives of those who died in the attack.

Some of the survivors and bystanders told the court they had given first aid to the victims.

They spoke about feeling guilty because they survived, and because they had failed to save more people.

Tanya Kouzos also tried to save victims and said: “I live with the thought: ‘Was there more I could have done to help?’

“It’s guilt and remorse I still feel, even though [the attack was] caused by another person’s evil choices.”

Other survivors spoke of the physical and psychological damage, while relatives of the dead described the pain of losing loved ones.

Janice Kirby’s mother Geraldine Brady was among those killed and she said: “My heart hurts every day.

“I can never understand this horrific, cowardly act.”

Amaresh Tesfamariam, a nurse and refugee from Eritrea, was the victim who spent more than three years in hospital before she died of her injuries.

Her niece told the court that the attack had left Ms Tesfamariam a quadriplegic, adding: “She would always, always ask about the other victims and ask about their families.

“She was always hopeful that she would get better.”

According to comments reported by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the judge told them “You’ve reached into my heart, and touched me in a very profound way.”

Minassian spent much of the hearing staring at the floor and refused to speak when the judge gave him the opportunity.

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