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Calgary Herald (Alberta, Canada)
June 29, 1994, Wednesday,
HEADLINE: Profile of a Predator:
A surviving victim of Luc Gregoire says his hands were deadly weapons
BYLINE: CHRISTINA MUNGAN AND BOB BEATYBODY
Luc Yoland Gregoire is a predator. He is a lonely, haunted man who couldn’t stand to be alone. A man who thought his mother didn’t love him and who told a woman he viciously raped that he raped others before her.
For his former victim, that painful and terrifying moment in 1980 is still very much alive. “He didn’t need weapons – his hands were weapons,” says Nicole Couture, now 46, in French from her Quebec home.
From Couture’s account – and forensic evidence on the rape of Lailanie Silva in Calgary – a pattern to Gregoire’s attacks has emerged.
He apparently preferred to crush his victims’ throats with his bare hands and then rape them — before or after they were dead.In Lailanie Silva’s case, a forensic pathologist told court it was impossible to tell if Silva was raped before or after death because the two events occurred so close together.
Both women were violently beaten and raped late at night in vehicles. Unlike Silva, Couture lived to describe her attacker.
In early February 1980, Couture, a mother of four, went out to a nightclub with seven female friends.
After Couture left the club on her own, Gregoire jumped her from behind and pushed her inside her car in a parkade. He punched her in the face over and over, “as if in a panic,” she says.
Then, he put his powerful hands around her throat and started strangling her. Hoping to save her own life, she eventually stopped struggling and pretended to be dead.
He started to rape her viciously. It was then she spoke to him.”He said he had a grudge against women because his mother hadn’t loved him,” Couture recalls. “(He said) he wasn’t physically attractive and he had problems having normal relations with women, so it was necessary for him to be violent.”
She agreed to co-operate to survive. “Then he did things to me I don’t want to talk about . . . I was in a terrible state, I was bleeding everywhere.”When she told him she had four children, the youngest then one year old, he agreed that children needed their mother alive.
He then said he was upset because he’d been kicked out of the military and that he’d raped four or five other women since his discharge. While he promised not to rape again, Couture says she knew he would, “by his way of talking, his incredible rage, his frustration.
“Two weeks after raping Couture, Gregoire was arrested in the same parkade, police say. He was sentenced in May 1981 to two years in jail for forcible confinement and indecent assault.
When Couture heard of the Silva murder, she hoped this time he’d be sentenced to spend the rest of his life in jail. He destroyed years of her life, she adds, noting within a year of the rape she divorced her husband, whom she found “totally unhelpful.”
Couture has no doubt that Gregoire wasn’t normal. “I saw him as a person, a sick person. His suffering, in a way, was greater than mine.”Gregoire’s brother agreed. “I think maybe he had a psychiatric problem,” says Christian Gregoire, who also denies his brother raped anyone.
Their mother still calls Luc a good son, who visited her last year because she couldn’t afford the ticket to Calgary.”He was cute as a little boy,” Claire Gregoire, 70, says from Sherbrooke, Que.
She notes that he joined the First Canadian Airborne in 1976 at age 17, but denies that her son was discharged four years later for drug use, saying he left by choice.When asked whether she knew about the Silva murder, she hung up the phone.
But Gregoire’s past did haunt his mother. In a January 1993, letter to Gregoire, his mother wrote: “I hope you do not bring me any more misery to my heart.”Gregoire was a lonely fellow Quebecer needing a decent home to live in, recall Tony and Deborah Alaous, former Quebecers who took pity on him.He stayed with them for about one year. Tony says Gregoire drank a lot and that “he was like a lost puppy,” always following them around.
He loved their two cats and dog and often took the dog with him to keep him company. He had no long-term male friends or girlfriends and would often go out drinking at strip clubs.
He had tattoos all over his arms, legs and back and all he would say about his four years with the Canadian Airborne Regiment, the army’s elite commando shock-troop, was that he enjoyed parachute jumping.”He always said he could never afford a girlfriend . . . I thought he was a quiet, sensitive man. We had no idea what a monster he was,” says Deborah, who herself was a rape victim.
When homicide detectives told them about Silva’s sex slaying, Deborah suffered nightmares and couldn’t take a shower for one month unless her husband was in the house.”We just feel completely betrayed,” Deborah says.