After years of abuse and extortion, she went to police. Now this woman hopes to inspire others with her story

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An Edmonton woman hopes going public about how she managed to escape a violent and emotionally abusive relationship conjures up others to discover the energy and braveness to do the identical.

In 2016, Natalie Bak mustered the braveness to file a criticism to Edmonton police in regards to the years of abuse she suffered by the hands of Hewton Murray.

Last month, Bak efficiently argued for a court-mandated publication ban on her identify to be lifted so she might inform her story.

“I feel it is necessary that others know that it is OK,” she informed CBC News in an interview. 

“It can get higher.”

Bak was 19 in 2008 when she met Murray at a northern Alberta work camp. She thought he was charismatic.

“I believed I used to be in love,” Bak stated. “Definitely infatuated.”

Not lengthy after she moved into an Edmonton basement house with Murray, Bak noticed purple flags.

Natalie Bak, in costume, with Hewton Murray in a 2010 photograph. (Submitted by Natalie Bak)

“It was loads of emotional abuse. Quite a bit of yelling, screaming,” she stated within the interview.

Murray would not permit her to make her personal mates or to see anybody socially with out him. He lower her off from her household. She did not need to inform her mother and father she’d made a mistake.

“Out of guilt and pleasure, I did not need to admit defeat,” Bak stated.

By the tip of 2011, the couple agreed the connection wasn’t working. They broke it off however continued to dwell collectively.

That’s when the extortion and sexual assaults started. 

Murray made Bak imagine {that a} prison gang had put a bounty on their heads and that she and her mother and father have been in peril. Over time, she gave Murray between $120,000 and $130,000 to repay the gang.

Bak estimates she was sexually assaulted 100 occasions over the following 4 years.

Earlier this 12 months Murray, 39, was sentenced to 10½ years in jail after Court of King’s Bench Justice Steven Mandziuk discovered him responsible of assault, uttering threats, sexual assault, forcible confinement, prison harassment and two counts of extortion. 

Mandziuk additionally ordered Murray to repay Bak $115,000 inside three years following his launch from jail.

Murray is interesting his conviction and sentence. A Court of Appeal choose denied Murray’s launch pending the end result of his enchantment.

He stays behind bars in Bowden Institution.

The north Edmonton home Natalie Bak and Hewton Murray and as soon as lived in. (Jamie McCannel/CBC)

“It simply felt like I had this endless darkness … and it was nothing however pure distress,” Bak testified in Edmonton Court of King’s Bench through the trial.

“I used to be so alone, and I felt so confined.”

Bak informed court docket that she went to police as a final resort.

“I figured I did not have a lot left to lose,” she testified. 

“There was nothing that had occurred to my household to date, so I figured my household could be protected, and the worst that will occur is possibly — possibly — I might die. 

“But I used to be prepared to take that threat.”

Years of abuse and extortion

The abuse and extortion continued for years after the connection led to 2011.

In one occasion, quickly after they broke up, Murray violently attacked Bak after he discovered her and a person in mattress of their shared residence. 

After threatening the person with a BB gun, he turned his anger on Bak. 

“He held me up and held my neck towards the wall,” Bak recalled within the interview.

MacEwan University psychology professor and forensic psychologist Sandy Jung. (Trevor Wilson/CBC)

“Eventually he made it to the entrance door with me and threw me down the steps and tossed me out.”

The subsequent day, Bak tried to accumulate her belongings. She stated Murray stated he would let her take her issues, however provided that she would have intercourse with him. 

After they’d intercourse, Murray modified his thoughts and she left humiliated and empty-handed.

The subsequent day she returned with a police escort.

“I keep in mind simply the seething look of rage in Hew’s face,” Bak informed CBC. “The rigidity was palpable.” 

She thought that will be the final time she’d ever see Hewton Murray.

To be sure, she obtained an emergency safety order from the court docket. 

$50,000 bounty on every of their heads 

A number of days later, Murray known as Bak and stated he wanted to inform her one thing necessary. He confirmed up outdoors her buddy’s house and demanded she get into his truck. 

During the drive, Murray informed Bak he’d been contacted by a gang member who was upset as a result of she introduced police into his home. 

“The accused informed [Bak] that the gang had positioned a $50,000 bounty on every of their heads as a result of she purportedly knew an excessive amount of,” Mandziuk wrote in his resolution.

“The accused informed her that if they didn’t pay the bounty, [Bak] and the accused could be killed.” 

Murray additionally urged Bak’s mother and father have been in peril. He produced a photograph of their Ontario farm taken from the street, supposedly by the gang member.

A smiling woman lies across the hood of a pickup truck.
Natalie Bak is trying ahead to the longer term. (Submitted by Natalie Bak)

“He stated that if I did not pay, they’d go after my household,” Bak stated within the interview.

Back at Murray’s home, she stated, he handcuffed her to a railing within the basement whereas he appeared to negotiate a deal with the gang over the cellphone. 

Then Murray sexually assaulted her.

“It has value me a lot of my time, my life and my funds, the higher half of my 20s,” Bak wrote in her sufferer impression assertion. 

“There was a lot ache and anguish, so many tears, and I would not want the expertise upon anybody.”

‘I simply wished to be free’

Murray stored inventing new sums of cash supposedly demanded by the gang. When Bak handed over $5,000 in May 2016, she promised herself it will be the final time. 

“Hew was going to come after me for cash by the tip of the 12 months and I simply wished to transfer on with my life,” Bak informed CBC.

“I simply wished to be free.”

A buddy seen how upset Bak was and advisable she see a psychic. She went for a session and says that dialog about her future persuaded her to go to the police. 

When she poured her coronary heart out to a constable, he believed her story.

Forensic psychologist Sandy Jung, a psychology professor and forensic psychologist at MacEwan University, says having a compassionate police officer is essential for these dealing with years of abuse.

“It’s big when you will have an officer who believes you,” Jung stated.

“Because it was coming from an authority determine, it has a big impact on victims.”

Staff Sgt. Jennifer Scott, performing head of the Edmonton Police Service home offender crime part, stated 10 detectives are assigned to the part, alongside with 13 constables on the home abuse high-risk crew who’re partnered with registered social employees. 

“It takes loads of braveness and it is very tough for folks to depart or to get help in these varieties of instances,” Scott stated. 

“It can occur to anybody.” 

Praise for sufferer’s braveness

In his sentencing resolution, Mandziuk stated Murray confirmed no regret.

“[Murray] stated that this prosecution was primarily based on ‘wild accusations’ which can be solely half true at greatest,” Mandziuk wrote.

Jung stated it is typical for abusers to lack regret.

“I do not doubt he is carried out it for therefore lengthy, that he is justified this in his thoughts for a very long time to make this OK,” Jung stated.

Jung praised Bak’s braveness for seeing the method by. 

“She’s now prevented one other sufferer who would possibly endure the very same factor that she went by.”

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