WARNING: Disturbing details.
Peter Sgromo once feared he was a twist away from having his neck snapped in half by Bruce McArthur, a Toronto man who’s been charged with five counts of first-degree murder.
Sgromo, who now lives in Mission, B.C., met the suspected serial killer in Toronto as recently as last spring.
Coverage of Bruce McArthur on Globalnews.ca:
“He seemed pretty adamant about meeting,” Sgromo told Global News. “I think that was odd for me and intuitively something was wrong.”
The pair went into the back of McArthur’s van and became intimate. But Sgromo pulled away when he said McArthur tried to force him to perform oral sex.
“That’s when he got violent,” Sgromo said.
“He grabbed my neck with one hand, from the back of the neck and twisted it to his crotch.
“That’s when I was disturbed. I thought one more second, one more twist, he’d snap it in half.”
Sgromo had had a bad date before — he trained in martial arts after it happened. To defend himself, he grabbed McArthur’s elbow, “squeezed it like the funny bone” and then released the grip.
“I remember saying to him, ‘Bruce, why would you do something like that, after all the violence I’ve been through?'” Sgromo said.
McArthur was arrested and charged with the first-degree murders of Andrew Kinsman and Selim Esen in mid-January.
Then on Monday, he had three more first-degree murder charges laid against him, connected to the deaths of Dean Lisowick, Soroush Mahmudi and Majeed Kayhan.
News of the charges came as a shock to homeowners for whom McArthur has worked as a gardener.
“He was very pleasant,” said one homeowner. “You could never have ever imagined that this is what he would do.”
As the charges have come out, Sgromo has found himself running his encounter with McArthur through his head over and over again.
“I am absolutely sure I escaped death that evening,” he said.
- With files from Jamie Mauracher and Nick Westoll