'Susan Natar paid for (her) forgiveness with her life.'

Man gets 13 years for beating his wife to death


A Hall Beach man who beat his wife to death with a piece of walrus cartilage and who's spent five years in jail awaiting sentence will serve another four years and eight months in prison.

Silas Ammaklak pleaded guilty to manslaughter in connection with the beating death of his wife, Susan Natar, in 2003.

"Death did not come gently to Susan Natar," said Justice Robert Kilpatrick in an oral judgment delivered Nov. 14.

"On Sept. 17, 2003 she was beaten with fists. She was repeatedly kicked. She was thrown from the balcony of her home and then dragged up the stairs.

"Once inside, the punishment continued. A heavy bone-like piece of cartilage, an ussuak, was used to beat her. She was struck twice on the head during a frenzied flurry of blows. The force of one of these blows caused a massive head injury. Susan Natar slipped into a coma. She died five days later. Susan Natar was 29 years old. She was in the prime of life."

Kilpatrick gave Ammaklak the usual two-for-one credit, totalling 100 months, for the time he's already served in jail awaiting trial.

He added an additional 56 months, making a total sentence of 13 years, which he said is near the high range for manslaughter in Nunavut.

In calculating the sentence, Kilpatrick noted Ammaklak tried to conceal evidence by washing blood and hair off the bone used to beat Natar.

This contradicted defence claims that Ammaklak was too drunk at the time of attack to remember any details.

From jail, Ammaklak also phoned two Hall Beach residents and tried to convince them to say they had seen another person fleeing the scene of the crime.

"This was a deliberate attempt to implicate an innocent citizen in a homicide that Mr. Ammaklak himself had committed," Kilpatrick said. The Crown had earlier stayed obstruction of justice charges against Ammaklak and asked the court to consider that behaviour in sentencing, to which Kilpatrick agreed.

Ammaklak's 13-year relationship with Natar was punctuated with two previous convictions for assault in 2001. While she was living away from Ammaklak with her family in Rankin Inlet, Ammaklak phoned her numerous times to beg for her return to Hall Beach, and at one point "threatened to shoot members of Ms. Natar's family if she did not change her mind."

"Mr. Ammaklak promised Susan Natar that he would change for the better and take counselling if she gave him another chance," Kilpatrick said. "She eventually agreed to return. She took Mr. Ammaklak at his word. She wanted to believe him."

"Susan Natar paid for this forgiveness with her life," Kilpatrick told Ammaklak.

Kilpatrick also sentenced Ammaklak to a consecutive 30-day sentence for assaulting a guard at Baffin Correctional Centre.

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