Man facing life sentence after pleading guilty to second-degree murder

Details released about tragic night of Mission trailer park fire murder.

Eleanor Anthonysz

Eleanor Anthonysz

A Deroche man is facing a life sentence with no possibility of parole for 20 years after admitting last Thursday to murdering Eleanor Anthonysz and attempting to kill two children in a Mission mobile home.

Anthonysz, 33, died last April after her Hatzic-area home was set ablaze in the middle of the night. Two children also sustained injuries in the blaze.

Walter Ramsay, 43, was arrested soon after the fire and charged with Anthonysz’s killing, along with the attempted murder of a boy and a girl, whose identities are protected by a publication ban.

Ramsay and Anthonysz had previously lived together, but had broken up two years before the killing, according to a statement of agreed facts submitted in court. Ramsay was described as “a screamer” and an alcoholic.

The evening before the fire, Anthonysz had gone for dinner with a neighbour, then returned home.

After chatting on the phone, she went to sleep around 10. Several hours later, she let out a scream. Police were later told that Ramsay had entered the home, had pinned her in her bed and was beating her with a hammer or mallet.

A girl who came to help was also struck with a mallet and she and Anthonysz were bound with zap straps.

Ramsay then doused the home with an accelerant and set it ablaze. He told Anthonysz, “I’ll see you in hell,” then left the building.

Anthonysz and the girl managed to free themselves, and as they attempted to leave with the boy, who was also in the home, Anthonysz fell. An autopsy later determined she died from smoke inhalation.

The children were able to get out and banged on a neighbour’s home for help.

The boy suffered smoke inhalation, while the girl had serious burns and injuries to her face. The home, meanwhile, had become engulfed in flames.

Second-degree murder carries an automatic life sentence, with offenders not eligible for parole for between 10 and 25 years. Crown counsel and defence presented a joint submission to the court seeking a 20-year parole ineligibility period.

For the two attempted murder counts, Crown is seeking concurrent life sentences while defence is seeking sentences of 15 years.