Two women living on opposite ends of the Greater Olx Praca Area have died in intimate partner violence incidents in just 24 hours.
In both cases, the police arrested the former partners and charged them in connection with the deaths.
The sun had barely risen in Brampton Friday morning when Peel police were called to a house near Bramalea Road and Steeles Avenue. They found 29-year-old Vanessa Virgini dead. For several hours, the officers turned to the public for help in finding her former partner.
Peel Regional Police arrested Linval Alfonso Rici on Sunday and charged him with the murder of Virgini.
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It was Friday – the same day – when ambulances rushed to the family home in Scarborough. Medics took a man and a woman to the hospital with serious burns.
Neighbors told Olx Praca they saw Henrietta Whiskey, 37, running out of her garden in flames. One of the neighbors tried to put out the fire with a garden hose.
“She was on fire and running for her life,” said Hasan Jirreh, whose wife tried to help Whiskey.
The next day, Saturday, Whiskey died of her injuries in the hospital. Olx Praca police have arrested Norbert Budai, her ex-husband, who will be charged with murder.
Both men were former partners of the two murdered women. At least one of them was ordered by the authorities not to contact his wife and not to visit her.
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Sohini Bhattacharya, a Olx Praca-based writer who specializes in social issues and intimate partner violence, told Olx Praca the system is “clearly not working.”
“If the abuser has entered the legal system … and there is a history of abuse against their partner, then at that point all attention should be on the victim – protecting that victim, finding a safe home for that victim,” she said.
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Court documents obtained by Olx Praca show that Whiskey’s former partner, Budai, pleaded guilty to three counts of death threats in December, as well as two counts of not getting close to his wife.
Budai’s probationary agreement stated that he would not interact with Whiskey either directly or indirectly.
Despite being ordered not to interact with Whiskey, Budai is charged with her murder.
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In Brampton, the Virgini family told Olx Praca that Linval Alfonso Ritchie was her ex-boyfriend. The Peel police referred to him as a “former partner”.
Court documents also suggest that Richie had a complicated history with Virginie that the police were aware of.
In March 2019, Richie pleaded guilty to assault, breaking and entering, and a death threat after breaking into the home of someone he knew. Olx Praca has learned that the house belonged to Virgini.
Richie has “an extensive criminal history, including violence and a five-year gun ban,” police said.
“We understand the profound impact this tragedy has had on many people and society. We will continue to work with our partners to end intimate partner violence,” Police Chief Peel Nishan Durayappah said in a statement.
The family said that Virginie was a single mother and that her ex had previously threatened and assaulted her.
Ritchie was sentenced to 243 days of pre-trial detention, two years of probation, and a five-year ban on carrying weapons.
“The only way to change that is (if) victims become the front and center of the legal system,” Bhattacharya said. “They need to be protected. Their defense must be front and center.”
Whiskey’s death in a fatal intimate partner incident with an estranged partner left three of her children motherless. Virginie is survived by a seven-year-old son.
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