Canadian pilot jailed for killings

The former commander of Canada's largest air force base said yesterday he deeply regretted his "despicable crimes," moments before he was sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole for 25 years for murdering two women.

Col Russell Williams pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree murder, two sexual assaults and 82 counts of breaking and entering, during which he took hundreds of undergarments from women and young girls.

The former elite pilot tearfully addressed the court, lamenting his crimes and the pain he has caused the victims and their family and friends.

"I stand before you indescribably ashamed," he said, his voice cracking. "I know that the crimes I have committed have damaged many people." Williams said he betrayed his family, friends and colleagues.

The Ontario judge Robert F Scott said he believed that Williams was sincere in his regrets, but nonetheless declared him a "sick and dangerous" man who "will forever be remembered as a sadosexual serial killer". Justice Scott added: "The depths of the depravity shown by Russell Williams have no equal."

Williams pleaded guilty to murdering Jessica Lloyd, 27, whose body was found in February, and Marie Comeau, a 37-year-old corporal under his command, who was found dead in her home last November. Both were asphyxiated.