Sex assault nets Penticton man a 6.5-year jail term

Darren John MacDonald, 42, pleaded guilty to five offences stemming from the August 2013 incident.

After tying up his victim and sexually assaulting her, the attacker then recorded a video confession and tried to kill himself, court heard Tuesday at his sentencing hearing in B.C. Supreme Court in Penticton.

Darren John MacDonald, 42, pleaded guilty to five offences — including kidnapping and sexual assault causing bodily harm — stemming from the August 2013 incident and was handed a 6.5-year jail sentence with enhanced credit of 20 months’ time served.

A routine publication ban applies to any information that would identify the victim.

Justice Terence Schultes said pre-sentence reports indicate MacDonald, who moved to Penticton in 2009, has multiple personality disorders, comes from a “very tumultuous background,” and was taken from his parents when he was seven.

A psychiatrist determined MacDonald presents a “moderate” risk to reoffend sexually or display “impulsive, violent behaviours towards himself and others,” Schultes added.

The judge, whose sentence was a joint recommendation of Crown and defence, cited the pre-meditated and “degrading” nature of the attack as aggravating factors, but mentioned MacDonald’s guilty pleas and efforts to seek treatment while behind bars as mitigating factors.

Court heard MacDonald and the woman, who knew each other, drove up to an isolated area off Shingle Creek Road west of Penticton on the night of the incident.

When they arrived at a clearing, MacDonald got out to retrieve money from a secret stash, but returned a few minutes later and grabbed the woman by the throat, threw her to the ground and tied her hands behind her back, said Crown counsellor John Swanson as he read from an agreed statement of facts.

MacDonald then showed the woman an imitation handgun, which she believed to be real, and threatened to shoot her if she didn’t do as he told her.

He then forced the victim into the back of his SUV and tied her ankles to the handles on the vehicle’s ceiling so that her legs were suspended in the air, and, according to Swanson, told her, “It’s now my night to be selfish.”

Following three sexual assaults on the woman, MacDonald undid the ties on her hands and feet but kept a cord around her while she relieved herself, then he swallowed some pills in an apparent suicide attempt.

After calling his mom to tell her about the kidnapping and recording a confession on his camera he had with him, MacDonald became ill and the woman drove them both to safety.

Defence counsel James Pennington told the court that his client’s reference to being “selfish” was intended to signal he was going to commit suicide that night.

MacDonald, who appeared by videoconference from Kamloops Regional Correctional Centre, read three separate apology letters, including one addressed to the victim, who was not in the courtroom.

“I hope in time you’ll find it in your heart to forgive me,” MacDonald said.

“I had absolutely no right to put my hands on you and abuse you like I did.”

In her victim impact statement, which was read into the court record, the woman said she now feels “dirty and useless.”

She also bears scars from the attack, and “every time I see them the event replays in my mind.”

“I’ll probably always live in fear from what happened,” she said.