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'Something in him that is scary': Man accused of murdering Manitoba woman has sex assault history in B.C.

Kevin Charles Queau was charged this week with the second-degree murder of Crystal Saunders in Winnipeg in 2007. The CBC has learned he was convicted of aggravated sexual assault in B.C. in 2015. (RCMP - image credit)
Kevin Charles Queau was charged this week with the second-degree murder of Crystal Saunders in Winnipeg in 2007. The CBC has learned he was convicted of aggravated sexual assault in B.C. in 2015. (RCMP - image credit)

WARNING: This story contains disturbing details.

Eight years after the killing of a Manitoba woman in 2007, the Vancouver man now accused in her death pleaded guilty to choking two B.C. women in a pair of attacks that left both victims fearing for their lives.

According to court documents obtained by CBC, Kevin Charles Queau was sentenced in August 2015 to five years in prison in after admitting to the aggravated sexual assault of one woman and the aggravated assault of another.

One of his victims said she was sexually assaulted for up to five hours, beaten to a point where "her nose was bleeding, her lips were black and there was blood and discoloration on her teeth."

The other — who met Queau on Tinder — said he choked her to the point of unconsciousness after she reacted to his slapping her during sex by slapping him back.

She said Queau had "a crazy look in his eyes." The sound of the slap woke her 12-year-old daughter, who went to the door of the bedroom to witness her mother gasping for air.

"She overheard Mr. Queau say: 'That's something in me that I'm frankly scared of, that came out," prosecutor Jason Krupa told the Vancouver provincial court judge who sent Queau to jail.

"I think Mr. Queau is accurate. There is something in him that is scary and it's a pattern. And he's aware of it."

'You're not going anywhere'

Queau was arrested in Vancouver this week and charged with second-degree murder in the death of Crystal Saunders, a woman last seen by a Winnipeg police officer getting into a vehicle on a street corner on April 18, 2007.

An off-duty RCMP officer found the 24-year-old's remains the next morning in a ditch near St. Ambroise, a community south of Lake Manitoba.

Crystal Saunders's body was found in a ditch north of St. Ambroise, near Lake Manitoba, on April 19, 2007. Her case, like hundreds of others, remains unsolved.
Crystal Saunders's body was found in a ditch north of St. Ambroise, near Lake Manitoba, on April 19, 2007. Her case, like hundreds of others, remains unsolved.

Crystal Saunders's body was found in a ditch north of St. Ambroise, near Lake Manitoba, on April 19, 2007. Kevin Charles Queau has now been charged with second-degree murder in connection with her death. (Submitted by Winnipeg Police Service)

In announcing the historical arrest, RCMP credited a DNA match for linking Queau to Saunders, who they said identified as Métis. Manitoba RCMP are also looking for any connections between Queau and other unsolved crimes.

In an audio recording of the 2015 sentencing hearing obtained by CBC, Krupa told Judge Gregory Rideout DNA also played a crucial role in tying the accused to the two B.C. attacks, which occurred more than a year apart.

Queau texted the first woman in February 2013 to say they had previously "hooked up" at a Gastown bar and that he "wanted to take her out and have intercourse again," Krupa said.

The pair met for drinks shortly after, ultimately returning to the same bar where they had first met. They parted ways at the end of the night, but Krupa said Queau followed the woman onto the SkyTrain and then to her home.

She took him to a nearby hotel, where Queau got a room and ordered pizza.

"Later she went to get up and told Kevin Queau that she was going to leave. And he suddenly hit her and knocked her to the ground," Krupa told the judge, noting the "sudden switch of a dramatic change in character."

"After he hit her, he said, 'You're not going anywhere, bitch.' He then told her that if she tried to leave or scream, he would kill her."

'She thought she was going to die'

Queau sexually assaulted the woman during the hours that followed, before "calmly" getting dressed and leaving the room, court heard.

"She then ran to the door and put the lock on," Krupa said. "Approximately 10 minutes later, Kevin Queau returned, found the door chained and broke it open. At this point, (the woman) … now believed he was going to kill her."

Sheriffs walk past Vancouver's provincial courthouse
Sheriffs walk past Vancouver's provincial courthouse

Kevin Charles Queau was sentenced to five years in 2015 for aggravated assault and aggravated sexual assault in relation to attacks on two women. (CBC)

Instead, Krupa said Queau looked around and left: "It was as if nothing had happened, was the inference, he was calm."

Despite having a name and a photograph, Krupa said police didn't locate Queau until December 2014, when his DNA ultimately turned up in relation to the second incident.

In that case, the victim had been on a few dates with Queau.

"Mr. Queau was fun, charming and engaging," Krupa said. But the woman also noted an aggressive side that emerged fully on the night when he slapped her and she responded in kind.

"He grabbed her, pushed her onto her back, and then placed his arm around her neck and choked her to unconsciousness. This is all happening in a matter of seconds," Krupa said.

"The next thing [she] remembers is waking up terrified — she thought she was going to die — and then Mr. Queau calmly putting his pants on, calling a cab and leaving."

An 'excessively strict' father

According to his lawyer in 2015, Queau was born in Winnipeg, and had a strained relationship with his father, who he considered "excessively strict."

He graduated from Grade 12 before going to university for one year. He spent a year or two travelling and then returned to Manitoba where he sold disability insurance.

RCMP charged Kevin Charles Queau with second-degree murder in the death of Crystal Saunders on Jan. 27.
RCMP charged Kevin Charles Queau with second-degree murder in the death of Crystal Saunders on Jan. 27.

RCMP charged Kevin Charles Queau with second-degree murder in the death of Crystal Saunders on Jan. 27. (Submitted by RCMP)

The CBC has obtained court records relating to Queau in Saskatchewan, Alberta and B.C., for charges including theft and using a forged cheque.

He pleaded guilty in Manitoba to taking cheques from his former fiancée and either changing the name on them or writing them himself. In 2012, a court heard she was defrauded for a total of $3,800 during a relationship that lasted five years before things "went sour."

At the 2015 sentencing, Queau's lawyer spoke of the breakup of his client's engagement as impetus for his move to B.C.

He said Queau worked in the oil patch in Alberta, Saskatchewan and northern B.C. as a driller and derrick hand, flying in and out of job sites for two- or three-week periods.

'I do not expect forgiveness'

Krupa read a victim-impact statement from Queau's first B.C. victim into the record.

"After the incident I was in shock, in a fog. I felt like a zombie just going through the motions. I'm always scared, especially of men. I feel that they are going to become dangerous and violent. I'm afraid to even look at guys. I feel intimidated, never safe," the woman wrote.

The woman said she didn't leave her room for months and developed a binge eating disorder in the aftermath of the attack. She drank obsessively and had to take a cocktail of drugs, in case she contracted HIV.

"I thought I was dying," she wrote. "I was scared for my life."

Queau wrote an apology to both women, which his lawyer read in court.

"My selfish and self-destructive behaviour has not only affected my life but the lives of the people around me," he wrote. "I do not expect forgiveness because my actions have been inexcusable."

Rideout concluded the sentencing hearing with a caution. The judge said Queau's predilection for sexual violence indicated some form of deeper problem,

"You would be wise that you get to the bottom of it," he told Queau.

"In your interest — and certainly as I say for the interest of members of the public who I consider to be at risk from what I have heard here today."