Globe and Mail

Suicide note lays bare killer's intent

Husband made it clear he planned to kill his wife and himself, but would spare their 11-month-old son

The Globe and Mail
Friday, June 23, 2000

Toronto -- In a seven-page suicide note, Ralph Hadley stated his intent to kill his estranged wife and himself, but spare their 11-month-old son because he wanted to give the child a better life, Durham Regional Police said yesterday.

Durham Regional Police Sergeant Jim Grimley described the contents of the letter but would not release any direct quotes except a few that gave a glimpse of Mr. Hadley's warped justifications for his actions.

"A man is more than the worst thing he has ever done," he wrote, apologizing to his family for any pain and suffering he brought them.

Another line read: "What we do in life echoes in eternity," a statement popularized in this year's hit movie Gladiator.

"There is sadness and remorse and he's asking his family to forgive him," Sgt. Grimley said. "He felt that he had to do this to protect the child."

Police found the handwritten note in a backpack lying in the back yard near an upper-level bedroom window they believe Mr. Hadley used to sneak into the semi-detached Pickering home he owned with his wife and cousin, Gordon Baines, who lived in the basement.

A loaded gun clip was also found in the bag.

Neighbours were awakened early Tuesday to sounds of a woman pleading for help as she was dragged, naked and terrified, into her home by her husband moments after passing her infant to safe hands. She was shot in the head before he turned the gun on himself.

One page of the letter, written on standard notebook-sized paper, addressed his parents, Christina and Gerald, with whom he lived in a modest neighbourhood in the city's east end after Ms. Hadley kicked him out in January.

Another page was directed to his sister, Heather, whom Mr. Hadley entrusted with raising his only child. "He felt the only way his child could be raised properly was by his sister," Sgt. Grimley said.

The remaining five pages of the note were filled with "a lot of derogatory remarks regarding his wife."

On Wednesday, the elder Hadleys were given copies of the two pages addressed to them, but they declined comment yesterday.

Sgt. Grimley said police felt it was important to notify the family "that he wasn't going to harm the child. . . . They were very relieved to hear the information."

Police are still trying to discover how Mr. Hadley was able to purchase a small black pistol, he said.

Ralph Alexander Hadley, a postal worker, had no previous criminal record until he started having brushes with the law some time last year.

All of those incidents involved physical abuse or threats to his wife or her seven-year-old disabled son, Michael.

Although he agreed repeatedly to peace bonds and to not visit or telephone her, he would not let go of Ms. Hadley, who had started a new relationship with another man.

Kim Nicely, his wife's closest friend, said, "Both of them had good families. Ralph's mom was an excellent mother."

But anger and frustration began to surface. On Jan. 7, Mr. Hadley was charged with assaulting his wife and breaching his recognizance, but he was later released with no court appearance.

He was charged with criminal harassment, violating his peace bond, and breaching his undertaking on Feb. 22, and he was released again, this time on $5,000 bail.

While the case sat in the hands of the Crown attorney's office in Whitby, Mr. Hadley was able to obtain a gun and plan the events he acted out Tuesday.

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