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Winnipeg bombing suspect was friendly, neighbours say

WINNIPEG – Residents of a Winnipeg neighbourhood were still stunned Monday at news their neighbour was charged in a string of letter bomb attacks, including one that left a local lawyer badly injured.

Guido Amstel, 49, lived at 613 Pandora Avenue East with his wife and two children; but the only people at the address Monday were police forensic investigation officers hauling out bags of evidence.

It was difficult for Amsel’s next door neighbour to see.  Ernie Ducharme has lived next to Amsel for several years, spending time playing with his children, and chatting over the fence.

“He was such a nice guy to me, he fixed my car.. And he helped me and I helped him,” Ernie Ducharme said.

READ MORE: Winnipeg police uncertain how many bombs mailed

Amsel and his ex-wife Iris emigrated from Germany,  where neighbours say he served with the German military before moving to St.Clement in the 1990’s.  The couple opened an automotive business and filed for divorce in 2004, according to court documents. They reached a separation agreement in 2010, but court battles continued for years after.

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Ducharme said Amstel once mentioned his ex-wife and the legal struggles he was facing. “He said to me oh I have to go see my lawyer today, oh what’s going on.. My ex-wife is trying to take me, she take me for a whole bunch of money, she’s trying to take my business from me.”

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Winnipeg police at the Pandora Avenue East home of Guido Amsel, suspect in law office bombing, on Monday, July 6, 2015. Jeremy Desrochers
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Winnipeg police at the Pandora Avenue East home of Guido Amsel, suspect in law office bombing, on Monday, July 6, 2015. Jeremy Desrochers
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Winnipeg police at the Pandora Avenue East home of Guido Amsel, suspect in law office bombing, on Monday, July 6, 2015. Jeremy Desrochers
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Winnipeg police at the Pandora Avenue East home of Guido Amsel, suspect in law office bombing, on Monday, July 6, 2015. Jeremy Desrochers

Amsel changed lawyers at least three times, according to court documents.

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The lawyer representing Amsel’s ex-wife was Maria Mitousis, the 38-year-old woman who suffered life altering injuries after a bomb in a package delivered to her River Avenue law firm detonated Friday morning.

Police found and detonated two other bombs at a business linked to his ex-wife on Washington Ave. Saturday, and a law office on Stradbrook Avenue Sunday.

READ MORE: Letter carrier shocked to learn he delivered bomb to Winnipeg business

Those living near Iris Amsel in St. Clement say the couple was kind, happy and fun, before the divorce.

“He was a great guy, wonderful father, but things change in life,” neighbour David Kane said.

Kane remembers in November 2013, an explosion in the mailbox of Iris Amsel’s home.

“There was a loud explosion at 3 am, and it rocked me right off my bed,” Kane explained, “I look out my bay window and see an RCMP bomb squad truck.”

According to neighbours living on Pandora Avenue, the accused’s current wife and two children were taken from the Pandora Avenue East home and were re-located as the investigation continues.

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