Stephen Allison was sitting across the aisle from Vincent Weiguang Li when he allegedly beheaded and defiled McLean’s body near Portage la Prairie on July 30. He hailed McLean as a hero.
“If it wasn’t for what he did, there would have been more that didn’t get off that bus,” said the 19-year-old Northwest Territories native.
He said McLean tried to get away from the suspect, attempting to fight off his killer after receiving at least two devastating stab wounds.
“When Tim fought back, he gave us all time to get off the bus,” Allison said in Winnipeg last night. “He was asleep initially, but then he jumped over (the suspect) and tried to fight … it was a last attempt (to save his own life).”
He said that last ditch move landed McLean in the aisleway, where the suspect allegedly continued his brutal attack.
“He was quickly and repeatedly stabbing him … he was arching his back, using his whole body. He was coming crashing down with each blow,” said Allison, noting the suspect used a double-edged hunting knife about 15 centimetres in length.
Allison ran to the front of the bus to tell the driver to pull over, then returned to the rear of the bus to reach his wife Isabelle, who was still near the horrifying scene.
“By the time I got back, (McLean) wasn’t moving,” he said, noting only seconds had passed.
Allison said he believed he and others were also in danger.
Allison and his wife were travelling from Fort Smith, N.W.T., to Kenora to visit family at the time of the murder, before moving onto Winnipeg to attend school. He said witnessing the grisly murder so closely has had a terrible impact on their lives, even prompting him to steer away from an education in criminal justice this fall for one in environmental sciences.
“We can’t even sleep through the night any more,” he said.
Li, 40, has been charged with second-degree murder in connection with the homicide. His next court appearance is set for Sept. 8.