Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Friend of Russell Williams' Murder Victim Speaks out against Play on Killer

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Friend of Russell Williams' Murder Victim Speaks out against Play on Killer

Article excerpt

Victim's friend angry at Russell Williams play

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TORONTO - A close friend of a woman murdered by convicted sex killer Russell Williams says an upcoming stage production based on the intense police interrogation of the former military commander will sensationalize his crimes.

Kirsten Walkom says the grief experienced by Williams' victims and their loved ones is not meant for entertainment.

The One Little Goat Theatre Company plans to premiere "Smyth/Williams'' in March, with an all-female cast that will alternate the roles of Ontario Provincial Police Det. Sgt. Jim Smyth and Williams through the performance.

The Toronto-based company says the play aims to raise awareness of sexual violence against women and calls the production an important part of a wider process of coming to terms with "the horror, rage and grief that such violence has occurred and continues to occur throughout Canada."

But Walkom says the play makes the victims' families feel exploited and should be cancelled.

Williams was sentenced to life in prison in October 2010 after pleading guilty to the murders of two women -- 37-year-old Cpl. Marie-France Comeau and 27-year-old Jessica Lloyd.

The former commander of CFB Trenton, Canada's largest military airfield, also pleaded guilty to 82 fetish break-and-enters and thefts as well as two sexual assaults.

Walkom was very close to Lloyd and her family. She attended every day of Williams' trial and provided a victim impact statement in court.

The 32-year-old said Lloyd's family is disgusted at the planned play.

"We need to stop sensationalizing violence against women and we're not doing ourselves any favours in pretending this is entertainment," said Walkom, who spoke on behalf of Lloyd's family and friends. "I also really feel victims, their families and their friends have the right to express their voice and to have more rights over their stories -- it's their narrative."

Walkom isn't alone in calling for the play to be stopped. …

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