Prostitute's attacker gets 14 years

Fantasized about murder:

Psychiatrist went to court to reveal man's confession

August 26, 2000

Ian Bailey

National Post

VANCOUVER - A man who fantasized about abducting, raping and killing prostitutes has been sentenced to 14 years in jail for aggravated assault.

Michael Leopold, 38, showed no reaction yesterday to the sentence, which was the latest twist in a bizarre saga that saw his psychiatrist win the blessing of the Supreme Court of Canada to warn authorities about Leopold's dangerous fantasies.

In provincial court yesterday, Judge Jack McGivern described the impassive Leopold, a self-described loner with few close friends, as a sexual sadist whose conduct and intentions were "certainly horrible and offensive."

In 1996, the Vancouver labourer attacked a prostitute he had hired for sex on the streets of the city's tough Downtown Eastside neighbourhood.

He picked up the woman and drove to a parking lot. He agreed to pay $25 for oral sex. But when the woman began to execute the act, Leopold punched her in the head, sparking a struggle in which he tried to force a rubber ball into her mouth.

Leopold was scared off by passersby who heard the prostitute's screams.

Police found Leopold's pager at the scene. He surrendered three days later.

"The primary purpose of imposing this sentence is to isolate you from the public until you can be released into the public or the sentence is served to the full extent," Judge McGivern told Leopold.

The judge acknowledged the three years Leopold has already served awaiting trial.

Outside the court, Leopold's lawyer said he had warned his client the 1996 assault might result in a tough sentence.

"He had both eyes open," said Les Mackoff, who had sought a sentence of two years less a day.

Mr. Mackoff was asked what the sentence would mean to his client.

"He is 38," he replied. "Potentially, he will not be released until he is nearly 50."

Mr. Mackoff retained Dr. Roy O'Shaughnessy to assess Leopold.

During their interviews, Leopold told the psychiatrist the attack on the woman was just a trial run for a grander scheme to kidnap a prostitute, use her as a sex slave, then kill her.

Dr. O'Shaughnessy went to the Supreme Court of British Columbia to seek permission to tell the Crown about Leopold's plans. Mr. Mackoff objected.

The court eventually supported Dr. O'Shaughnessy, as did Canada's Supreme Court in a March, 1999, ruling.

Dr. O'Shaughnessy's lawyer said his client sought the ruling "due to his concerns about public safety."

Before this confession, the Crown and defence had agreed Leopold would serve a two-year sentence if he pleaded guilty to aggravated assault -- a lesser charge than the count of aggravated sexual assault he was originally facing.

Judge McGivern rejected a bid by Leopold to change his plea.

When he sentenced Leopold yesterday, he said he hoped the man would seek counselling during his years in jail. Mr. Mackoff suggested Leopold probably would.

Vancouver police, who are probing the disappearance of about 20 Eastside prostitutes since 1978, remain interested in Leopold.

"He continues to be a person of interest in our files, along with several other individuals," said Janice Williams, speaking on behalf of investigators in that case.

Sadist's Confession



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Updated: August 21, 2016