February 13, 2009

Girlfriend beaten before slaying, Court told

Girlfriend beaten before slaying, court told
The Toronto Sun

Witness Brady Allen describes how Arssei Hindessa pulled victim Natalie Novak's hair and hit her in the temple, during Hindessa's trial Tuesday, Feb. 10. 2009, in Toronto. (Sun Media/Pam Davies)

TORONTO -- A childhood friend vividly described in court yesterday how Natalie Novak was attacked and beaten by the man accused of murdering her 16 months later.

Arssei Hindessa, 32, has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the death of the 20-year-old Ryerson University student, who was stabbed and had her throat cut on May 15, 2006.

The prosecution alleges Hindessa, an Ethiopian immigrant, retrieved a chef's knife 17 metres away from Novak's bedroom, returned, locked the door and fatally attacked her on a night when she wanted to end their relationship.

Brady Allen, who met Novak as a six-year-old living on the same street in Muskoka and remained "best friends," described a Toronto party they attended in January 2005.

She testified Hindessa crashed the party and isolated Novak in a room to talk.

"A few minutes later, I heard a scream from the stairwell and Natalie burst through the door, screaming and crying," said Allen, 24, a researcher for several TV shows.

"She had half her shirt torn off. She said, 'He hit me so hard that I saw sparks.'

"She said he grabbed her by the hair, punched her three or four times in the right temple. She kept saying, 'I can't believe he would do this to me.'

"Arssei was running with a small bat or billy stick, but at the top of the stairs there were 25 males there, converging and they told him to 'get out of here,' and he just turned and left," Allen told court.

Meghan Stoeckle, another friend from Ryerson, said Novak phoned her that night and told her Hindessa "grabbed her by the hair and slammed her into a wall."

Stoeckle and Rachel Dupuis accompanied the shaken Novak home and photographed the bruises on her scalp, arms and thigh and a prominent scratch on the left side of her nose.

Stoeckle said Hindessa tried to break into the apartment in the middle of that night but was stopped by a chain lock.

"He phoned her place on her cellphone 30 to 40 times that night. Rachel told him to leave her alone. Natalie doesn't want to talk to you."

Source: http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/Crime/2009/02/11/8346791-sun.html

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