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She was too afraid to testify at her ex’s domestic abuse trial. She was jailed instead

NOTE: This story contains disturbing details and images.When Serrece Winter found herself locked up in a jail cell at Halifax Regional Police headquarters, she sat on the metal bench, leaned back against the bars and thought about dying.Then she turned toward the concrete wall and started hitting her head against it. She banged her head about 36 times — at times pulling her head back and smashing it into the wall  — until she finally stopped.Winter, 45, of Dartmouth, N.S., has no criminal record.She was jailed Nov. 20, 2019, because earlier that afternoon she had failed to show up in court to testify against her on-again, off-again boyfriend for allegedly assaulting her.Winter had been at home drinking beer since the morning to find the courage to testify as the main witness against the man she feared.Arrest warrant issuedWhen she didn’t show, the Crown attorney requested a warrant for her arrest to bring her to court. The warrant was granted by a judge.The self-harm was the result of utter despair and a mental breakdown, Winter told CBC News in an exclusive interview.”I’m cold, I’m depressed, I’m thinking about death because at this point, it seems like nobody in the system cared that my life was in danger or how this was affecting me,” said Winter, recalling that day at police headquarters.”I was really hoping to crack my head open so that I would die and then it would be over, and I wouldn’t have to worry about being threatened.”I don’t want to die at the hands of some psycho guy.”Ex faced 14 chargesThe scene inside the police cell, the conversation that preceded it and what followed afterward were captured on surveillance video and viewed by CBC News.Seven officers, six of whom are male, are on hand as Winter is strapped to a restraint chair. Two officers cover her mouth and chin with their hands.At the time, Winter’s then-boyfriend was facing 14 charges, including choking, assault causing bodily harm, assault, unlawful confinement, mischief, and failing to comply with a recognizance for alleged incidents between February 2019 and September 2019. Those charges were dropped last Friday after Winter indicated she would not testify and the Crown determined there was no realistic prospect of conviction, said a spokesperson for the Public Prosecution Service.A peace bond is in place ordering Winter’s ex to keep his distance and not contact her for one year.’They put the victim in jail’Winter’s act of self-harm in her cell nearly a year ago followed a five-minute exchange in the booking area in which she told two officers that as a domestic violence complainant, she didn’t belong there.”They put the victim in jail,” she can be heard telling two officers in the video.Her voice grows louder as she argues her imprisonment is unjust.”I didn’t commit a crime. He did. He assaulted me,” she pleads. The officer replies: “If you had shown up [at court]

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