A Canadian Air Colonel With an Urge for Women's Underwear, Rape and Murder...

A Canadian Air Colonel With an Urge for Women’s Underwear, Rape and Murder…

  • A Canadian air colonel. A model military officer, described by his co-workers as an elite pilot and shining bright star of the Canadian military.
  • Made 82 fetish-related home invasions and attempted break-ins between 2007 and 2009, frequently masturbating while lying on the beds of his victims.
  • The assaulted women were bound in their homes and photographed.

Russell Williams was a model military officer, described by his co-workers as an elite pilot and shining bright star of the Canadian army. Similarly to serial killer BTK (Bind, Torture, Kill), who strangled ten people in the 70s, Williams also had a fetish for women’s underwear. But he wasn’t satisfied with buying them. Instead, he felt an urge to steal women’s underwear, from girls as young as nine years old. What started as a harmless cross-dressing and panty-fetish, eventually led to rape and murder.

Russell Williams

Williams was born in England but his family immigrated to Canada when he was four. He went to high-school at Canada's most prestigious boys school in Scarborough, Ontario, and was working as a newspaper boy. In his final two years of high school, his parents moved to South Korea because his father accepted an overseas job with a nuclear research program.

Young Russell Williams / Russ Sovka
Russell Williams' high school yearbook photo. At the time, he was known as Russ Sovka.

He studied economics and political science at the University of Toronto, Scarborough. After gaining a Bachelor of Arts in 1986, he enrolled in the Canadian Armed Forces in 1987. His 23-year military career was nothing but success. Promoted to captain in 1991, he was the commander of Canada’s largest and busiest military airbase and even once flew the Queen across the Atlantic. The same year, Williams married Mary Elizabeth Harriman with whom he had four healthy children. On the Department of National Defence website, Williams described himself as a keen photographer, fisherman and runner as well as an avid golfer.

Russell Williams and his wife Mary Elizabeth Harriman
Russell Williams and his wife Mary Elizabeth Harriman, who was not aware of her husband’s depraved double life.

The Secret Life of Russell Williams Exposed

The first victims were Williams’ next-door neighbours. They thought they know Williams and spent a great deal of time together with the sadistic murderer, who also shared a close bond with both of their children. The former colonel felt so comfortable inside their home that in September 2007, he chose their daughter as his first victim. He sneaked into her bedroom when the whole family was out of town, dressed in their 12-year-old daughter’s underwear, masturbated, stole six pairs as mementos and left a message on her computer saying: "Merci" (Thank you in French).

Over the course of two years, Williams committed 82 fetish-related home invasions, frequently masturbating while lying on the beds of his victims and later photographing himself modelling with the stolen lingerie.

Russell Williams in underwear
The former colonel wearing his victim’s underwear.

In 2009, his perversions escalated from fetish-motivated burglaries to sexual assaults and murders, when Marie-France Comeau, a 37-year-old military flight attendant, was found dead inside her home.

Marie-France Comeau
Marie-France Comeau.

27-year-old Jessica Lloyd vanished on January 28, 2010. Williams entered her bedroom while she was still asleep, woke and tied her up, and covered her eyes with duct tape. He then took photos of her wearing what she had worn to bed – a tank top and jogging pants – after which he videotaped himself raping her. Following the brutal assault, Williams decided to take Jessica to his home, where he forced her to take a shower and raped her again.

Jessica Lloyd
Jessica Lloyd.

At some point, Lloyd started to have seizures because of the stress put on her body and begged for mercy. “If I die, will you make sure that my mom knows that I love her?” she asked, but was instead struck unconscious with a flashlight and strangled to death with a rope by Williams.

Game Over

Investigators found distinctive tire tracks left in snow near Lloyd's home and later identified them as belonging to Russell Williams.

During a ten-hour interrogation, Williams gave detailed information about his crimes and told investigators where the thousands of images he had taken of his victims could be found. When police searched his Ottawa home for evidence, they discovered tons of stolen lingerie – all neatly stored, catalogued, and concealed.

Russell Williams evidence (underwear)

He was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum of 25 years before parole eligibility. The Canadian Armed Forces dishonorably discharged him, but he still collects his $60,000 annual military pension.

Russell Williams with Queen
Serial killers, Crime
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