Caitlan Coleman, the estranged wife of former hostage Joshua Boyle, testified in graphic detail Friday about two sexual assaults and another assault allegedly involving Boyle, one in which she was left tied up afterward.
Coleman is the Crown’s star witness at Boyle’s criminal trial in provincial court in Ottawa, where she appeared Friday via closed circuit television from another room in the courthouse, as she has since Wednesday when her testimony began.
Boyle, 35, has pleaded not guilty to 19 charges, including assault with a weapon, sexual assault and forcible confinement.
Coleman, 33, is the alleged victim in 17 of the offences Boyle is facing.
He was charged a few months after the couple returned to Canada in October 2017 with the three children they had while being held captive for five years in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
‘I was never to disagree with him’
Coleman testified she was getting ready to go do laundry on Nov. 12, 2017, when she and Boyle got into an argument.
An infant was strapped to her chest at the time, she told the court during questioning by Crown attorney Meaghan Cunningham.
“He became very angry at me for disagreeing and started to hit me on the face,” she said. “He had made it clear to me for years that I was never to disagree with him on anything, even small things.”
Boyle slapped her with an open hand, Coleman said, and there “may have been a punch or two as well.”
Coleman said she yelled at Boyle stop. At that point he pushed her down onto a sofa in the living room and held her down, she said.
Eventually Boyle got up, and the child was “screaming,” Coleman testified. She told him he scared the baby, and he told her she should have “just taken the hits and it wouldn’t have bothered” the child, Coleman recalled.
“He was trying to make me feel ashamed. It was like he didn’t have any concept that he had done anything wrong at all,” she told court.
‘I just couldn’t do this anymore’
WARNING: This section contains graphic details
Another alleged assault occurred the night of Nov. 27, 2017.
“Some of the details are a little bit fuzzy, but … he was angry over the fact that I told him that I didn’t want to have anal sex, which was something that he expressed to me that he wanted and that he felt he had a right to have with me,” she told court.
“He was saying that I had to have it,” Coleman said, adding that she was frightened and started to cry.
“I was feeling I can’t do this anymore. I suggested to Josh that I was going to take the children and leave … that I just couldn’t do this anymore,” she said.
“He got extremely angry. He hit me.”
‘I just sort of froze’
Coleman said she didn’t remember all the details but wound up on the floor near the door of the hotel room.
She told court Boyle was very angry and told her she couldn’t leave. He told her to go to the bedroom and get undressed.
“I was very scared of him, so I think I just sort of froze … was just doing what he was telling me to do,” she said.
Once they were in the bedroom and she was undressed, “Josh told me to get on the bed, and he took ropes that he kept in a bag with other things and he started to tie my hands and legs.”
The bag contained BDSM equipment that was “at times” used during sex between the couple, Coleman testified.
“My expectation after he finished based on past times that were similar was that he would untie me and we would be done for the night and go to bed. But he didn’t untie me, so I asked him to untie me, but he said that he couldn’t trust me, so he wasn’t going to untie me,” Coleman testified.
“I started crying, and I think I was pleading with him to untie me, and eventually he agreed, all right, if you lie there quietly for about 30 minutes, then I will.”
Coleman testified she felt “very similar to how I felt in captivity, because the guards would often say similar things to me.”
‘His only response to me was, ‘I lied”
After half an hour had passed, Coleman asked Boyle again to untie her, but he said no, she told court.
She told him he’d promised, but his response was “I lied.”
Boyle then said he wanted to sleep, and Coleman testified she remained quiet on the bed until his breathing deepened.
Once she thought he was sleeping, she was able to untie her hands in about 10 minutes. Then she sat up quietly and untied her ankles.
‘Should have tried to leave, but I didn’t’
“After I was untied I just lay down and went to sleep,” Coleman testified. She described herself as scared, shaken and terrified, and that “looking back I should have tried to leave, but I didn’t. I just lay down.”
The next day, she said she was too frightened to talk to Boyle about what had happened.
Coleman also testified that sometime in mid-December, Boyle asked her to get on her hands and knees for sex. She said she knew what that position meant, because on previous occasions he’d told her he couldn’t stand to see her face.
But on that specific occasion, Coleman said she was a consenting partner.
Then, Boyle tried to have anal sex.
“I don’t remember my exact words but I was trying to convey, no, you know I can’t do this,” she testified.
Boyle continued to try, and she continued to struggle, and eventually “he stopped and he hit me in the face and he said, ‘F—k you,'” Coleman told court.
“It hurt but it wasn’t the hardest he’d ever hit me. It wasn’t one of the worst hits.” Boyle then got up and walked out of the room, she recalled.
Cunningham asked Coleman how she felt.
“It was a mix of relief that this was over, and the same sick feeling in my stomach and fear that was just very common at that time.”
This story originally appeared on CBC