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Yosef Gopaul being eyed for earlier assault in Surrey

Yosef Jomo Gopaul in Surrey Provincial Court on Monday morning. - Felicity Don illustration
Yosef Jomo Gopaul in Surrey Provincial Court on Monday morning.
— image credit: Felicity Don illustration

The man accused of killing a Surrey hockey mom was considered a risk of reoffending after a violent assault in Ontario five years ago.

However, the Surrey RCMP were not notified because the accused had served his full term, and he was free to travel the country without having the public warned about his chances of reoffending.

Yosef Jomo Gopaul, 27, was charged last week with second-degree murder in the beating death of hockey mom Julie Paskall outside the Newton Ice Arena on Dec. 29, 2013. Gopaul remains innocent of the Surrey offence as it hasn't been proven in court.

In 2010, Gopaul was sentenced to two years, seven months in jail after a violent assault on a woman in Brampton, Ontario.

Canadian Parole Board documents show he followed a woman home from a bar on Jan. 1, 2009, and attacked her when she stopped to urinate.

"Despite being intoxicated, 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,' " Parole Board of Canada documents say.

When a witness interrupted the attack, Gopaul reportedly pushed the victim into an icy creek and left.

Gopaul denied hurting the victim.

The documents indicate he is at "the high end of the moderate range of risk for general and violent recidivism."

That risk escalates when drugs or alcohol are involved.

He was released into house arrest to serve out his term, but violated the conditions of his community release only 10 days later.

He was then put into a federal halfway house.

After he served his full term, he came to Surrey, for reasons yet unknown. He moved here just eight weeks before Paskall was killed.

Surrey RCMP were not informed that Gopaul had arrived, nor about his risk of reoffending.

That information was available, but Gopaul had no previous run-ins with Surrey RCMP. When he became a suspect in the Paskall killing about a month after it happened, RCMP would have been aware of parole warnings at that time.

Meanwhile, Gopaul continues to be investigated by the RCMP in regards to an offence that occurred a month after he arrived in Surrey.

RCMP say they are compiling evidence regarding a woman in her 20s who was attacked at the Newton bus exchange on Dec. 16, 2013. She was attacked as she was getting off a bus at the exchange near the Newton Recreation Centre, at 72 Avenue and 137 Street. She suffered facial injuries.

On Dec. 29, 2013, Paskall, 53, was brutally beaten outside the Newton ice rink while she was waiting for her 14-year-old son who was refereeing a tournament.

Police said at the time of Paskall's murder they believed there may be a link between the attack on the woman at the bus exchange and the killing of Paskall. Both attacks occurred within a couple hundred metres of each other.

The Surrey RCMP explained at the time they did not send out a public release about the first attack because they didn't believe it was severe enough or represented a trend.

After Paskall's murder, Surrey RCMP urged the public to be careful.

As to adding an assault charge to Gopaul's second-degree murder charge related to Paskall, Surrey RCMP Sgt. Dale Carr said it's too early ton know.

"I can tell you that it's certainly on our minds and certainly we're looking at the evidence to see if we can support anything that would go forward to Crown counsel," Carr said Tuesday.

"He could be someone that is responsible, but we don't know that yet, we don't want to label him as a suspect yet until we have some hard facts," Carr said.

He appeared in Surrey Provincial Court on May 26, where he was ordered to stay in custody. He is due back in court on June 13.

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