Thursday , October 21 2021

Calgary woman living in fear after convicted abuser quits network


WARNING: Details and pictures in this story may be disturbing to some readers.

It took more than two years for Dianne Denovan to begin regaining her life after a violent attack on her ex-boyfriend that left her bruised and injured, physically and emotionally.

But Michael Richard (Rick) Cole is now wanted in a warrant throughout Canada after allegedly breaking the terms of his statutory release, disappearing from a middle house under the control of authorities in Calgary.

Learning the man who ambushed her violently left the police radar is like a nightmare that does not end for Denovan and his family.

"It's disgusting that he's out there," Denovan told the Postmedia on Saturday. "I put an alarm system in my house when I heard he was being released … it's like reviving everything again. I feel panic and anxiety.

Denovan said he felt Cole had "more rights" than during legal proceedings, and that sentiment was only reinforced now that Cole managed to flee the police.

"He received a two-year sentence and I received a lifelong sentence," she said.

Parole documents obtained by Postmedia show that Cole has a long criminal history dating back to 1987 and was previously convicted of assault, uttering threats, assault causing bodily harm and at least two other domestic incidents.

The terms of his release required that Cole not consume alcohol or drugs, avoid contact with Denovan, live in a residential facility approved by Correctional Services Canada, and report all intimate relationships.

It was considered a high risk for recurrence.

Michael Richard (Rick) Cole, 49, is wanted in a lawsuit across Canada for breaking his parole conditions and disappearing from authorities in Calgary. He is currently on the loose after serving two years for the aggravated assault of a Calgary woman who now fears that the man will try to attack her again.


On October 23, 2016, Denovan and Cole, her then boyfriend, were in a bar watching a show when the couple argued.

Cole was removed from the venue, but Denovan stayed to enjoy the show.

"There was something off with him all day, I did not know he had a history of drug abuse or violence, I knew nothing of it," Denovan said of the man she met on an online dating site seven months before of the assault.

Denovan returned home after deciding to continue his evening with friends after Cole's explosion at the bar.

While preparing for bed, Denovan said he heard a noise behind her.

She turned to see Cole standing there uninvited and unwelcome, and moments later the man began an attack that would leave Denovan hospitalized and fearing for his life.

Denovan said he hit her on the head with a stainless steel bulb, rendering her unconscious, and then began to lash her for almost four hours.

Documents show that she suffered from broken bones, a broken jaw, a torn eye, large cuts on her face and a bleeding in the brain, among other injuries.

Denovan was only able to escape the attack by running to a neighbor's home, when Cole took a beating time to get into the garage, she said.

"As she had the strength or clarity to leave the house is something I will never understand, but I will always be very grateful for it," said Denovan's daughter, Nikole, in a Facebook post about the incident, which has already been shared thousands of times.

One of seven photos posted online showing injuries to Calgary woman Dianne Denovan suffered after an attack by her ex-boyfriend Michael Richard "Rick" Cole on October 23, 2016. (Provided / Denovan Family)


The neighbors called the police and Cole fled the scene. He was arrested almost five weeks later.

Dianne spent three weeks at the hospital before being released to take care of her daughter and then spent time in a shelter until Cole was found and arrested.

But more than just the physical impact of the attack, she said she suffered post-traumatic stress as a result of the incident.

After years of recovery, Cole's disappearance "reopened" the emotional scars left that terrifying night in 2016, she said.

Cole spent a little more than two years in prison for the aggravated assault.

Cole was released on November 30, 2018, and Dianne requested that he not be released in Calgary. But "the court thought it best to free him back to the city, where he could watch him closely," Nikole said.

The family feared he would attack them or the other woman again. The family said Cole had created several fake social media accounts and contacted Denovan despite an emergency protection order.

One of seven photos posted online showing injuries to Calgary woman Dianne Denovan suffered after an attack by her ex-boyfriend Michael Richard "Rick" Cole on October 23, 2016. (Provided / Denovan Family)


Nikole made a Facebook post detailing the robbery and Cole fled the law to help the man back behind the bars.

But since then there has been an unexpected "flurry of messages from other victims of domestic assault," sharing similar stories of their outlawed offenders or victims who fear abusers may recur.

"We had no idea what that would do," said Dianne. "This was shared more than 20,000 times in less than 48 hours. That was not the point when we put it there.

Your daughter said that the attack on her mother also serves as a warning about the potential dangers of online dating and engaging romantically with someone you do not know.

"You never know who you know," Nikole said. "And that man you meet at the grocery store might end up trying to take your life one day."

Anyone with information about Cole's whereabouts is requested to call the Calgary Police Department's non-emergency hotline at 403-266-1234.

Tips can also be left anonymously by contacting Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or

You need help?

Victims of domestic abuse may contact the following organizations for assistance:

[email protected]

On twitter: @RCRumbolt

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