Derek Descoteau was killed in Chemainus in 2016. (file photo)

Trial opens for accused in 2016 Chemainus murder

“I was soaked in blood from the neck down”: witness

The girlfriend of Derek Descoteau, who was stabbed to death at a Chemainus residence in 2016, took the stand in day one of the second-degree murder and attempted murder trial for Colin John.

Janelle Guyatt, 18, was on the stand for almost four hours Monday, recalling the events leading up to the death of 20-year-old Descoteau and the attack on her that left her with serious injuries.

A Cowichan Valley Secondary School student at the time of the attack, Guyatt described how she and her boyfriend of a couple months had returned to his basement suite on Caswell Street to have lunch and watch a movie.

“I heard the dog growl and there was somebody standing behind the couch,” Guyatt said, under questioning by Crown prosecutor Ken Paziuk.

“He was holding a knife in his hand, above his shoulder. I felt a bad pain at the bottom of my neck.

“Then this shirtless man jumped over the couch and started attacking both of us. Derek was trying to get me out of the way, saying ‘don’t hurt her’ and he attacked Derek.”

Guyatt, who was stabbed five times and spent more than two weeks in hospital, enduring two surgeries and faces another procedure in the new year, said it was a chaotic scene in the darkly it room. She made her way outside and screamed for help.

“I’d lost a lot of blood and my arm was useless. I tripped going up the stairs and stumbled and ran to the road. I was yelling for help the whole time.

“There was a lady getting groceries out of the back of her car, she didn’t move. I was soaked in blood from the neck down,” she explained in a soft voice in the Duncan courtroom that contained about 20 members of her family and Descoteau’s family.

“A couple minutes later someone else came down from Caswell and another lady came and she was on the phone. I remember hearing Derek yelling for help.”

She told the court how Derek emerged from the house, covered in blood, holding his arm.

“Help, I’m gonna die,” she heard him say.

Moments later, the shirtless man she says attacked them in the basement, came out of the house and made his way to where Derek was being attended to in the front yard.

Under cross examination from John’s lawyer, Scott Sheets, Guyatt said John, who she had pointed to in the prisoner’s box as the man who had attacked the couple, knelt down next to Descoteau.

Covered in blood, John was not aggressive when he was near the fatally injured Descoteau, Guyatt said.

Descoteau died en route to hospital, Guyatt was rushed to Cowichan District Hospital and John was also hospitalized for unspecified injuries.

The Supreme Court trial continues Tuesday and is expected to last three weeks. The Crown expects to call more than a dozen witnesses.

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