Burn assault victim awarded damages

Dec. 9, 2010 at 3:47 PM
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MILLBROOK, Nova Scotia, Dec. 9 (UPI) -- A Canadian couple convicted of setting a woman on fire in an attack that left her scarred have been ordered to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages.

Judge Douglas McLellan of the Nova Scotia Supreme Court signed an order Nov. 30 awarding Robin Tomah $426,000, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported Thursday. Joanne Sylliboy and Vincent Bezanson, who pleaded guilty to attempted murder, are now free on parole after being sentenced to 12 years for the 2001 attack.

The couple approached Tomah outside her home in Millbrook, Nova Scotia. Bezanson poured gasoline on her and Sylliboy used a match to set her on fire as her four children watched. The couple followed her to the bathroom and prevented her from turning her shower on.

Dr. Murdo Ferguson, who has treated Tomah, said she suffers from depression and anxiety. She also had 18 operations to repair the damage, but extensive scarring remains.

"These symptoms have had a crippling effect on Ms. Tomah's family and personal relationships, as well as her ability to be employed," the court ruling quoted Ferguson as saying.

The Truro Daily News said the attack was retaliation for a dispute Tomah had with Sylliboy's teenage daughter.

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