Fiona Pender suspect denies threatening, drugging and sexually assaulting his wife

Fiona Pender
Fiona Pender

The chief suspect in the 1996 disappearance of Fiona Pender has denied that he threatened, drugged or sexually assaulted his wife.

A court in Canada had heard claims from the man’s wife of how she was allegedly drugged before he put make up on her unconscious body and sexually assaulted her.

She testified  that her husband told her: “'You know I've done it before, they'll never find you, is that what you want?',” Click here to read her harrowing evidence.

Today the 42-year-old accused man testified at Saskatoon Court of Queen’s Bench.

He faces two counts of sexual assault, one count of sexual assault with a weapon and two counts of uttering death threats in 2013 and 2014 in a small town in Saskatchewan, Canada.

Back in 1996 hairdresser Fioina Pender, who was seven month’s pregnant, vanished after leaving her apartment in Tullamore, Co Offaly, on the 23rd of August.

Gardai fear that she was murdered and her body dumped somewhere in the Midlands.

Officers conducted digs in the woods near the village of Rosenallis, Co Laois, but failed to locate any remains.

Gardai searching for Fiona Pender's remains

The chief suspect in Fiona’s disappearance told the Canadian court that he didn’t threaten to kill his wife, drug her, or have sex with her while she was unconscious or too drunk to give consent.

He also denied ever putting makeup on her, telling the court that she often did that before sexual intercourse.

Defence lawyer Davin Burlingham asked his client if he ever videotaped his wife without her consent.

“I believe she consented or was aware, at least. She always knew,” he replied.

During cross examination the man admitted that he had taken a picture of his sleeping wife wearing heavy makeup.

This image, as well as a series of video clips seized from the couple’s home, were entered into evidence earlier this week.

Crown prosecutor Frank Impey pushed the accused to clarify his thoughts about consent in the sexual relationship with the complainant.

To which the accused replied: “I believe it would seem to me to be preposterous to ask your wife every time,” the accused said in court. “If you’re in an intimate relationship, unless she says no ...”

“Then you believe she’s consenting?” Mr Impey said.

“Yes,” the man said.

Mr Impey asked directly if the accused believes he had consent from his wife if she didn’t expressly say “no.”

“Yes, that’s what I believe,” the accused said.

Mr Impey then asked the accused if the make-up which was discovered in the spare wheel well of his car, along with thousands of dollars in silver coins and his children’s passports that he was allegedly hiding, was in fact his secret “sex make-up”?

Fiona Pender

The man claimed that the make-up was forgotten while moving house.

Mr Impey asked the accused about his relationship with an Irish woman who went missing in 1996.

The man confirmed he was a suspect in the case and said the complainant was aware of that fact.

Yesterday the man’s wife, who alerted the authorities to her husband’s actions, told the court that Saskatoon police did not take her allegations seriously when she first reported them and it wasn’t until she spoke to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Canada’s FBI, that the investigation was launched.