A man who terrorized and savagely beat his spouses, sending one to her grave, has been declared a dangerous offender, meaning he has been jailed indefinitely.
"No treatment has served to control Mr. (Ian) Bell's behaviour," Superior Court Justice Peter Jarvis said yesterday, rejecting a defence plan to have him eventually released into tight supervision.
It is rare for Canada's most serious sanction to be imposed for someone not convicted of sex crimes.
Before he was sentenced Bell, 45, apologized for his serial spousal abuse. "I feel terrible," he said.
In 1993, he beat his wife, Cassandra Hawke, to death. A pathologist said she had the worst beating he had ever seen in his 27-year career.
In 2004, Bell was convicted of assault causing bodily harm to his latest wife, Kate Bell. It is for this crime that he was sentenced yesterday, but his history was examined to determine if he is too dangerous to ever be let free.
The Toronto man's first wife, Jacqueline Bell, testified that she was terrified of him during their nine-year marriage. He beat her up as many as 1,000 times, choking her to the point of blacking out, and breaking her arm when she was pregnant, she told Crown prosecutor David Mitchell at the hearing.
Helen Wilson, a former girlfriend, said she is "still afraid of Ian," and "of the anger he is capable of."
Forensic psychiatrist Dr. Derek Pallandi said Bell's risk of re-offending is very high.
Defence lawyer Arun Maini said an appeal would be considered.