true crime

The true story of “Angela” who was raped and stabbed by a stranger then ended up in jail with her attacker.

Trigger warning: This article contains information about sexual assault and/or violence which may be distressing to some readers.

In June 2014, a homeless 28-year-old woman was sleeping in an apartment stairwell in Alberta, Canada, when she was dragged by her hair into the flat of a convicted sexual predator.

She was sexually assaulted, beaten and stabbed. Still, Angela Cardinal – whose real name has been suppressed – managed to call police, putting the phone on loud speaker as she was being attacked.

“Help me, help me, I’ve been stabbed…he stabbed me,” she can be heard screaming.

angela face
Angela was dragged from a stairwell and into the apartment of a convicted sexual predator. Image via Edmonton Police Service.

Her attacker, Lance Blanchard, can be heard yelling for police to come and arrest the woman for "break and entry", claiming she entered his apartment and grabbed a knife.

After the attack, Angela needed 27 stitches in her hand, where she was stabbed while trying to protect herself. She had a black eye and her neck was bruised from where her attacker had attempted to strangle her.

Yet, somehow, it was 28-year-old Angela who would end up in jail right beside her attacker and who would appear before a judge in shackles.

angela hand
Angela needed 27 stitches in her hand after she was stabbed during the attack. Image via Edmonton Police Service.
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According to an investigation by CBC News Canada, when Angela faced her attacker one year later, on June 5, 2015, she kept "falling asleep" in the courtroom.

Court documents indicate she was having "trouble focusing and answering questions", so the judge ordered her to spend the weekend in police custody.

"I'm the victim and look at me, I'm in shackles," she told the judge when she returned to court after her weekend in the cells. She was handcuffed and in leg shackles at the time.

"Aren't you supposed to commit a crime to go to jail? I'm the fricken victim here."

angela attack
The apartment where Angela was attacked. Image via CBC News Canada.

Astonishingly, she was sent back to jail, spending five nights behind bars in total.

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She was held in the same facility as her attacker, just a few cells apart. On at least two occasions, she was transported to and from court in the same prisoner transport van as the man who raped her.

Seven months after she testified at a preliminary hearing, Angela was killed in an accidental shooting. The man who shot her pleaded guilty to her manslaughter.

Last December, Angela's attacker Blanchard was found guilty of aggravated assault, kidnapping, unlawful confinement, aggravated sexual assault, possession of a weapon and threatening to cause death or bodily harm.

lance blanchard angela
Angela spent five nights in prison near her attacker, Lance Blanchard. Image via Edmonton Police Service.

He remains behind bars and will be designated as a dangerous offender.

This week, three years after Angela's rape and assault, Alberta Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley has launched two official investigations into the treatment of her case.

"The facts of this case are disturbing and tragic, and when you add in the treatment of the victim in the system, they are almost incomprehensible," Ganley said.

"What is clear is that both policies and people failed in this case.

"One of the questions that keeps me up at night is whether it would have been the case that if this woman was Caucasian and housed and not addicted, whether this would have happened to her."

If you or someone you know is in need of help, please call the National Sexual Assault, Domestic and Family Violence Counselling Service on 1800 RESPECT.