Who is Russell Williams and is Netflix’s The Fall based on a true story? – The Sun

RUSSELL Williams formerly worked for the Canadian air force, before his fetishes escalated into murder.

Netflix's The Fall was inspired primarily by killer Dennis Rader, but the show's creator also looked into Russell Williams.

Real-life killer Russell Williams is a ­former air force colonel

Who is Russell Williams?

Russell Williams was born in Worcs, but left for Chalk River, Ontario as a youngster and his childhood involved a paper round, piano lessons and becoming a prefect at boarding school in Toronto.

left the University of Toronto with a BA in economics and political science in 1986, then joined the forces.

In 1991, the year he was made ­captain, he married Mary Elizabeth Harriman, an executive at the Heart and Stroke Association of Canada.

His final post was Wing ­Commander at Trenton in Ontario — the top job at the country’s busiest air transport base.

Yet less than a year later he was in a police cell confessing to double murder and a string of other offences.

The perverse real-life killer is so chillingly ­similar to Paul Spector, the murderer in The Fall.

How was The Fall inspired by Russell Williams?

Allan Cubitt penned the BBC Two drama starring Jamie Dornan as Spector and Gillian Anderson as the detective on his trail, which started its third series last night.

He said: “Williams was unusual in that he was a decorated pilot in the Canadian military.

“Until his arrest, he had no previous convictions, but in fact he had a long career of breaking and entering and stealing underwear.

“Somehow that escalated to killing and he was ultimately convicted of first-degree murder, sexual assault and forcible confinement.

“His method was very close to that of Spector.

“I took it as an indication I was getting it right in some way.”

To the outside world, British-born Williams was a “shining star” in the Canadian forces who had even flown the Queen.

He enjoyed golf, fishing and — like Spector — running.

What did Russell Williams do to his victims?

It started, as it had with fictional bereavement counsellor Paul Spector, with a fetish for breaking into homes and stealing women’s underwear.

Williams would get a sexual kick out of wearing the garments, often pleasuring himself and taking pictures.

One victim, Laurie Massicotte, who waived her right to anonymity, told how he blindfolded her, bound her hands, cut her shirt with a knife and took shots of her naked body.

Afterwards, he took photos of himself wearing her underwear on his face.

During another break-in he stole more than 40 items of clothing, a porn movie and a sex toy.

His victim found a note from him on their computer which read: “Go ahead and call the police.

“I want to show the judge your really big dildos.”

Several of his burglary victims were under 18.

Things suddenly escalated in November 2007 after Williams broke into the home of a colleague.

He had met 37-year-old Corporal Marie-France Comeau on a mission flight and she had innocently revealed that she lived alone.

Williams later told police that on his first visit there he stole some underwear.

He said: “I was playing with her underwear… wearing it.”

So he returned to Marie-France’s house on November 25 intending to hide in her basement until she fell asleep.

Just like Spector, Williams had gone equipped with rope and duct tape.

When she found him while looking for her cat, he battered her with his torch, tied her hands and carried her to a bedroom.

There he raped her and photographed her bound to a pole, draped in her own shawl.

A court heard that Marie-France had begged: “Have a heart please, I want to live,” before he murdered her with at least five blows to the head.

Williams confessed: “I raped her over a period of time.

“I suffocated her using duct tape.

“She was quite aggressive.”

Then he drove to Ottawa for a meeting about a C-17 aircraft.

As an air force colleague, he even wrote to Marie-France’s family, saying: “Please let me know whether there is ­anything I can do to help you during this very difficult time.”

On January 28, 2010, Williams struck again.

Jessica Lloyd, 27, worked for the school bus company.

She also lived alone, in a quiet stretch between Tweed, Ontario, where ­Williams owned a cottage, and Belleville.

He carried out a similar gruesome execution and ­revelled in photographing and filming his brutality.

In a ten-hour police confession — some of which was released to the press and online — he said: “I threatened her.

“I put a zip tie around her neck and said I would pull it if I didn’t like what she was doing.

“I continued to rape her and I had her put on some of her underwear and took pictures. Lots of ­pictures.”

At one point Williams moved Jessica to his cottage.

He forced her to shower — something echoed by Spector who bathed his victims — and left her ­shivering and naked.

Horrifically, he filmed her having convulsions and telling him she was dying.

He said: “Hang in there, baby.”

She said on the film: “If I die, will you tell my mom I love her?”

Williams continued to ­torment her by forcing her to model lingerie while duct tape was covering her eyes.

During the final moments of the 24-hour ordeal, he led her to believe she would be freed.

Then he bashed her over the head with a torch, strangled her and stowed her body in his garage.

He then drove to his base at Trenton, flew troops to California the next day, and returned to ­dispose of Jessica’s body in an isolated area in Tweed.

She lay there for almost a week before he told police where to find her.

What happened to Russell Williams?

The police asked him to come in for questioning after Jessica's neighbours reported the suspicious presence of his SUV by her home – plus his tyre tracks were left in the snow outside.

An imprint of his boots perfectly matched a bloody footprint found at Marie-France’s house.

Williams later confessed to both murders, saying: “I want to minimise the impact on my wife.”

Videos of his crimes were found at his cottage, while at his house in Ottawa police found a skullcap, a guide to lock-picking, hard drives with thousands of photos of Comeau and Lloyd and bags of women’s underwear.

During sentencing at Ontario Court of Justice, in October 2010, the list of his crimes took 34 minutes to read and provoked gasps of horror.

Williams, then 47, pleaded guilty to the two murders and got two life sentences, plus other terms for sexual assault, forcible confinement, and breaking and entering.

He will serve 25 years in Quebec’s Port-Cartier top security jail before being eligible for parole.

Later he was stripped of his air force rank and medals.

Williams said in court he was “indescribably ashamed”, adding: “I very deeply regret what I have done and the harm I know I have caused so many.”

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