Canada News

Get the latest new in Candada

Calgary

Woman’s 12-hour torture killing took place Christmas Day, judge hears in manslaughter plea

WARNING: The details in this article are graphic and violent.


One of the people responsible for torturing and killing a Calgary woman on Christmas Day 2016 pleaded guilty Monday. 

For 12 hours, Tammie Howard, also known as Irish, was hung from the rafters of a garage in the southeast community of Forest Lawn, beaten and repeatedly shot with a nail gun. 

Natalie Vinje, 38, was originally charged with first-degree murder in Howard’s death. She pleaded guilty Monday to manslaughter. 

Details of the crime come from an agreed statement of facts (ASF) read aloud by prosecutor Donna Spaner. 

Howard offered as gift to Vinje

In 2016, Vinje’s boyfriend Thomas Evans rented a basement suite of a home in Forest Lawn. The homeowners were gone on a trip to Central America at the time.

Vinje and Howard had known each other for years and were friends.

But a year earlier while visiting people at the Drumheller prison, Howard left in Vinje’s car, stranding her there. 

Mug shot of a curly haired woman.
Originally charged with first-degree murder in the death of Tammie Howard, Natalie Vinje pleaded guilty to manslaughter on Monday. (Calgary Police Service)

Vinje also owed Evans a $200 drug debt at the time. 

On Dec. 25, 2016, Natalie Vinje was angry with Evans.

So, to “take her mind off the fact that he was with another girl,” Evans called to tell Vinje he’d gotten her a Christmas surprise.

Victim hung from rafters

Vinje and two others waited in the detached garage.

Evens eventually showed up with two other people, plus Howard.

He then instructed his friends to tie up Howard and duct tape her mouth, according to the facts of the case. 

Scott Stimson used a rope to hang Howard from a hook in the rafters of the garage, according to the ASF.

Vinje wore gloves and began punching Howard. She told police the others also attacked the victim. 

‘Howard was dying’

While she was hanging, Stimson and another man fired nails into her body from a nail gun, according to the ASF. 

Vinje knew Howard had been beaten “to a pulp,” according to the agreed statement of facts.

“They probably broke a rib and collapsed a lung or something,” she told the undercover officer. 

At one point, in the early morning hours, Vinje noticed Howard appeared lifeless and wasn’t breathing. 

“Vinje believed Howard was dying,” reads the ASF. 

Howard was taken down from the ceiling and had a shallow pulse. She died on the floor of the garage. 

“Vinje was aware that [Howard] was a vulnerable, medically compromised, substance addicted, homeless individual,” reads the ASF.

Victim’s skull found 

Evans directed the group to get rid of Howard and clean up the garage. 

They scrubbed the garage and put Howard’s body in a hockey bag and drove out to Gleichen, Alta., where the group dumped her. 

In 2021, nearly five years after Howard disappeared, a fly fisherman discovered a skull on Siksika Nation lands. He called the RCMP.

The DNA comparison from the victim’s daughter showed the skull was almost certainly from Tammie Howard.

Tammie’s mother didn’t hear from her around the Christmas holiday and she eventually contacted the Calgary Police Service and reported her daughter missing. 

Vinje confesses

Years after her disappearance, police launched an undercover operation, which began in April 2021 and took place over about a three-month period. 

The operation involved 51 scenarios where police convinced Vinje she’d been brought into a criminal organization she could trust. 

Vinje ultimately confessed her involvement to the “Mr. Big” undercover police operative. 

Nobody besides Vinje has been charged in Howard’s homicide. 

Stimson has since died of a drug overdose. 

On Monday, Howard’s parents, three adult children and sister were in court for Vinje’s plea. 

Pre-sentence reports were ordered and Court of King’s Bench Justice Jim Eamon will hear sentencing submissions from the Crown and defence lawyer Andrea Urquhart later this year.

View original article here Source