A B.C. woman who, as a child of 12, was confined in an underground cell and sexually assaulted for six months in the mid-1970s, confronted her jailer for the first time in a tense Vancouver courtroom yesterday.
Donald Hay, 67, faces five criminal charges related to indecent assault, gross indecency and rape of three girls between 1970 and 1976.
Abby Drover, 37, was called to testify about statements Mr. Hay made when she was a 12-year-old schoolgirl and held captive in a dungeon in a cell six by seven feet and 10 feet under Mr. Hay's garage.
Ms. Drover said it was the first time she has been in court on anything to do with Mr. Hay because he acknowledged his wrongdoing in 1976.
During her testimony, Ms. Drover appeared overwrought and on the verge of tears. She spoke extremely softly and the judge asked her repeatedly to speak up. Defence lawyer John White tried to lessen the tension, saying he did not want to sound like a pushy, cold-hearted lawyer.
Nevertheless, Ms. Drover could not handle the questioning and broke down, reaching for a tissue to wipe her eyes. She looked at the lawyer, at the ceiling or straight ahead but not at Mr. Hay.
Prosecutor Randi Connor asked her to confront her jailer. Is Mr. Hay someone you would recognize, she was asked. Yes, replied Ms. Drover.
Indicate if Mr. Hay is in the courtroom, Ms. Connor said, and Ms. Drover pointed defiantly at him.
"There," she said. "He's sitting in the plexiglass area," she added, pointing to the prisoner's box.
Mr. Hay, a balding, stocky man dressed in a dark blazer, grey slacks, blue striped shirt and a tie, looked at the floor.
Ms. Drover, who now lives under a different name, also told court she had advised police she did not want to be involved in the trial. She did not want to see Mr. Hay again, she said.
But she eventually agreed to testify. "I did not want any other children to become victims of Donald Hay," Ms. Drover said. Asked if she wanted to make sure Mr. Hay stayed in prison, she replied: "That's true too."
Mr. Justice Ken Smith of the Supreme Court of British Columbia has imposed a publication ban on any information that could identify the complainants.
Ms. Drover, a heavy woman with shoulder-length brown hair, is now the mother of one child and four stepchildren. In November of 1975, she moved with her mother and two older sisters to Port Moody, B.C. Mr. Hay lived a two-minute walk from their house, she said.
She testified that she was abducted on March 10, 1976, and rescued on Sept. 6, 1976. She was sexually assaulted by Mr. Hay in the underground bunker, she said.
Earlier, Judge Smith said Mr. Hay had unlawfully confined Ms. Drover in an underground shelter. He also advised the jury that Ms. Drover's evidence about her abduction and imprisonment in the dungeon were not to be considered when deciding about the allegations currently against him.
Ms. Drover also testified that Mr. Hay told her, when he was sexually assaulting her, that he had someone else in the shelter whom he had sexually assaulted and he had intended to hold that girl in the shelter. Ms. Drover also said Mr. Hay compared her breasts to those of another girl and, while he was fondling her, he told her he had "tweaked" the other girl's nipples.
Ms. Drover said that before she was in captivity she would play two or three times a week with the other girls' younger brother.
The trial continues.