Gopaul suspected in earlier assault in Newton

SURREY – Surrey RCMP are investigating the possibility that Yosef Jomo Gopaul, the man charged with killing 53-year-old Julie Paskall, may be linked to an earlier assault in Surrey.


A woman in her 20s received injuries to her face when she was attacked as she got off a bus on Dec. 16, 2013 near Newton rec centre.


The public was not notified of this incident before Paskall’s attack on Dec. 29 outside Newton Arena, and some questioned why the public wasn’t informed.


At the time, blogger Laila Yuile said she understands the police like to see a pattern before there’s a warning, but said this area is a "known high-crime, high-risk area in my opinion." She said the public should have been warned.


Last December, Surrey RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Bert Paquet said that at the time of the Dec. 16 assault, it was an isolated incident.


"Often we will warn the public when we see a pattern with similar circumstances, or when there’s detail relevant information to provide to the public," Paquet said. "This was not the case at the time. But based on the circumstances of last night’s crime, we are warning the public and asking them to take all steps necessary to ensure their safety."


While Gopaul, 27, has not been charged in relation to the Dec. 16 assault, Surrey RCMP Sgt. Dale Carr said Tuesday that police are looking at links between the assault and Paskall’s death.


"We would be remiss because of some of the similarities in the two incidents


to not look at that to see if Mr. Gopaul was responsible for that. He has not been charged at this point," Carr said, adding police are seeing if they can get evidence to support sending a recommendation to Crown counsel. "But we’re not there yet."


Gopaul came to Surrey from Ontario eight weeks prior to the attack that killed Paskall. Gopaul is charged with second degree murder in the death of Julie Paskall.


He first appeared in Surrey provincial court Monday morning and is scheduled back in court on June 13.


A man by the name of Yousef Jomo Gopaul was considered a high risk to re-offend after an Ontario conviction for attacking a woman on New Year’s Day 2010.


Gopaul’s lawyer confirmed this is the same man charged with Paskall’s murder.


Parole Board of Canada documents say Gopaul has gang affiliations and a "history of both drug and alcohol abuse" that was considered a factor in the early morning 2010 attack on a woman in Brampton.


"Your case management team notes that you view violence as an acceptable means of dealing with problems and have demonstrated poor impulse control," a July 2012 decision on Gopaul’s release stated.


"You appear to have difficulty considering the short and long-term consequences of your actions."


They noted he had shown little remorse or insight into the violent attack on a woman he had followed from a bar at 2:30 a.m. The victim "recalled being struck with punches and kicks and fighting back and being dragged by the hood of her jacket while she was naked from the waist down."


Gopaul pushed the woman into a frozen creek as he fled.


When he was arrested a few days later, he told police he was "intending to have vaginal intercourse with the victim" and showed a "lack of remorse with respect to the harm (he) caused."


Gopaul was a difficult inmate while serving his two-year, seven-month federal sentence that ended last June.


During one treatment program, he displayed "an inappropriate attitude including excessive swearing, side conversations, discussing inappropriate sexual content and glorifying drug use."


The board ordered Gopaul should remain in a halfway house even after statutory release from prison because of "(his)


extensive criminal history and threatening behavior, assessed level of risk and poor history of community supervision."


The board told Gopaul "you fall in the high end of the moderate range to reoffend."


"You also have a history of associating with negative peers and have been known to associate with members of the (blacked out name) street gang," the document states.


A psychological risk assessment from April 2011 said Gopaul is of "low average intelligence" and that his risk to re-offend was higher if he was using alcohol or drugs.


The board also ordered Gopaul to report "all intimate sexual and non-sexual relationships" to his parole officer and to stay out of bars and other drinking establishments.


And he was also ordered to stay away from "anyone involved in criminal activity or anyone who you may believe may be involved in criminal activity."


The board said the special conditions were "reasonable and necessary to protect society."


But on Gopaul’s first day in the halfway house, he violated his conditions by having two female visitors. He later went AWOL from the facility and was later arrested at another female friend’s home. Gopaul then had his statutory release revoked in November 2012 and was then ordered to remain inside the facility under house arrest.


But on Aug. 19, 2012, he left the facility and got into an awaiting vehicle and an arrest warrant was issued. He was later found at the house of a female friend.


"In light of all these factors, the board concludes that you have the potential to be a danger to others in the community," the document states.


"The board concludes that you need the monitoring, structure and support of a halfway house."


The board noted that Gopaul had been "subject to nine community supervision orders and breached those orders on seven occasions."


With files from Amy Reid