The only thing I can say is it’s time to
your practices, methinks.
LONDON, Ont. – A vicious attack on a woman went on for at least half-an-hour — and it was loud enough to be heard by tenants living on the floor below.
The woman lay in her own blood for more than five hours Tuesday evening, severely beaten, until her roommate came home to find her and called 911.
Now, shaken neighbours wonder why it took police nearly six hours to respond to a call for help. They also hope the assailant is located soon.
“Five hours seems like a long time for the police to get here,” said one friend of the woman.
The victim, believed to be in her late 40s or early 50s, lives on the second floor of a four-storey walk-up.
Police refuse to release her age because they say the detail could identify her and hurt their investigation. Investigators also won’t say whether the woman was sexually assaulted.
But they said she remains in critical condition in hospital.
Police got an initial call from the apartment building at 6:25 p.m. Tuesday, said the building superintendent who placed the first 911 call.
“I told them I had a tenant complaining about loud noises coming from the unit above him. He could hear someone in there but when he went to the door, no one answered. I told (police) we’ve had problems with that tenant before and they said they’d send someone out,” he said.
“I understood they were sending someone right away.”
Another neighbour said the banging went on for about half an hour, loud enough to be heard through the cement floors to the apartment below.
But police didn’t show up until after 11 p.m., when the woman’s roommate returned home and found her unconscious on the floor.
Police first told the media they responded at 11:28 p.m. when they were called about a woman with serious injuries, but they didn’t mention the 6:25 p.m. call.
When questioned about the time lag, Deputy Chief Brent Shea released a prepared statement.
When the first 911 call came in, he said, it was logged as a “Code 3” call — one that isn’t urgent.
“The London police service confirms that the initial call … was received at 6:26 p.m.,” Shea’s statement said.
“At (that) time information was received from a third party in the building advising of noise coming from a unit. There was no indication from the caller that the occupant was in distress and as a result the call was classified as a non-urgent call and placed in the dispatch queue in order of priority.”
Officers were on their way to the apartment building at 8 p.m. but were redirected to a higher-priority call while en-route, Shea said. The call, now almost two hours old, was again placed in the queue.
“A further 911 call was received at 11:20 p.m. from a caller who entered the unit. Upon notification of the urgency, officers were immediately dispatched,” Shea said.
Witnesses say the woman was taken out on a stretcher, her normally blondish-grey hair dark with blood.
“I’m terrified. Being a woman, I fear for my safety. I’m getting out of here,” said neighbour Janet Gray, who returned home from work early Wednesday morning to find police officers scouring the building for clues.
“I know she led a bit of a (sordid) lifestyle, but I don’t care who you are or what kind of lifestyle you lead, no one deserves to be hurt the way she was,” Gray said. “I’m terrified. My kids saw them take her out, covered in blood.”
Gray and her neighbours said they hope the person responsible for the attack is arrested quickly.
“It takes a real piece of work, for lack of a better word, to do that to a person, especially a woman. That’s no kind of man,” Gray said.
Based on the information they had from the initial caller at 6:25 p.m., police protocol for logging the call as a “Code 3” were followed, said police spokesperson Const. Dennis Rivest.
Code 2 calls require officers to respond “fairly quickly” but without sirens and lights, and Code 1 calls, the highest priority like car crashes or robberies, require lights and sirens, Rivest said.
Police are still looking for a suspect and remained at the apartment late yesterday afternoon.