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Joshua Boyle arrives to court in Ottawa on Monday, March 25, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

OTTAWA -- A lawyer for Joshua Boyle says the former hostage's wife, Caitlan Coleman, fled their Ottawa apartment and accused him of assault as part of a long-desired plan to win sole custody of their three children and make a new life in the United States.

During closing arguments in Boyle's assault trial today, lawyer Lawrence Greenspon says Coleman saw the night of Dec. 30, 2017, as her best chance to put the plan into effect.

Coleman grabbed money and passports before heading to a downtown hotel to see her visiting mother, who was about to head back to the U.S.

Boyle, meanwhile, called police to say his wife was missing and expressed concern for her safety.

An officer turned up at the hotel and listened to Coleman's claims her husband had assaulted her several times, leading to Boyle's arrest a short time later.

Boyle, 36, has pleaded not guilty to offences including assault, sexual assault, unlawful confinement and uttering threats -- incidents that allegedly took place in late 2017 after he and Coleman were freed from overseas captivity in the hands of Taliban-linked extremists.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 1, 2019.