Crown seeks over 24 years in prison for rapist Raymond Burke in 1980s sex assaults

The Crown is seeking a 24.5-year sentence for rapist Raymond Burke, who a judge convicted last year of abducting and sexually assaulting two women in Ontario in the 1980s.

During a sentencing hearing in Superior Court on Friday morning, Assistant Crown Attorney Sandra Duffey said prosecutors are seeking consecutive sentences of 12 years and seven months for the man’s offenses. 69 years against Angela English, and 12 years for her crimes against Nicole Murdock, with time credit.

Burke abducted and brutally attacked the two women in separate incidents in southern Ontario in 1986, before fleeing to the United States and assuming a false identity. He was later arrested in Colorado for assaulting another woman in 1987 and spent decades in prison there, before being paroled and deported back to Canada in 2015.

A judge ordered a stay of his proceedings in 2017 – allowing Burke to walk free for a while – before the Crown successfully appealed and he was again arraigned for trial.

Duffey said Friday that if Burke were to receive a sentence consistent with the Crown’s arguments, he would be eligible to apply for parole at the age of 75.

“It is only a long penitentiary sentence that will communicate to others that they will be punished with a crippling sentence if they choose to devalue, degrade, endanger and rape the women and girls of the community,” Duffey said.

Both women previously told CBC News that Burke no longer had any power over them.

“I am a survivor. I will never allow you to take more than you have already taken from me,” English said, reading his victim impact statement.

“I won this battle.”

Shout out to the victims

Duffey also said the Crown considered Burke’s conduct in court when Judge Sandra Nishikawa issued her ruling last year.

The court has already heard that after the ruling was released, Burke began shouting racial slurs at his lawyers before turning to the two victims from the witness box and said he hoped they would be died of COVID, before calling them “whores”.

“Mr. Burke’s outburst and the language he used compounded the painful impact of his crimes and this trial on the victims in this case,” Duffey said.

“The words he used were demeaning and his behavior was intimidating. It was a continuation of the behavior they were subjected to in 1986.”

WATCH | Murdock and English tell their stories:

The long road to justice for two victims of sexual assault

WARNING: This video contains distressing details. Two women tell their stories of pain and trauma, three decades after they were sexually assaulted by a man named Raymond Burke. He managed to escape to the United States, but was deported to Toronto several years ago and now faces sentencing on a host of charges including sexual assault, assault and kidnapping . 6:01

Burke is technically representing himself during the sentencing process, although court-appointed amicus attorney Cynthia Fromstein also made submissions on his behalf on Friday.

She called the Crown’s sentencing submissions “excessive” and argued that a sentence of 10 to 15 years would suffice.

“He’s not the same person he was at 35 anymore. He doesn’t pose the same threat to the community that he did,” Fromstein said.

Burke speaks

Burke also spoke in court and apologized for his actions – though he notably did so in court when his victims weren’t in the courtroom.

Reading through a handful of crumpled papers, Burke said his time in prison had “leaved obvious mental scars” and impaired his long-term memory.

“The version of the assault given by the two women shocked my 2022 conscience,” he said. “Now, at 70, I find it very difficult to accept the crimes the court has found me guilty of since I was 33.

“I desperately want to apologize for what happened in 1986.”

Nishikawa is expected to serve his sentence on June 6.

Support is available for anyone who has been sexually assaulted. You can access crisis lines and local support services through this Government of Canada website or the Canadian Association for the Elimination of Violence Database. If you are in immediate danger or fear for your safety or the safety of those around you, please call 911.