National Post

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Thursday, June 22, 2000

Court order did not put end to beatings before murder
Changed phone number
Mark Gollom and Desmond Brown
National Post, with files from The Canadian Press

PICKERING - The last months of Gillian Hadley's life were lived in constant fear as her estranged husband stalked her despite a court order to stay away.

"He used to hang around outside her house and hide in the bushes," said Michael Ferraz, Mrs. Hadley's first husband. "In the last four months, she had to change her phone number three times."

Tuesday morning, the 35-year-old Pickering woman was shot to death by Ralph Hadley, 34, moments before he took his own life.

Minutes earlier, she had run out of her Hillcrest Road home, naked and screaming before being dragged back inside by Mr. Hadley. Two men came to her assistance and she was able to hand over her one-year-old son, Christopher Chase, to a neighbour. Mr. Hadley then pulled out a gun, shooting her and then himself in the head.

"She confided everything to me. I tried to protect her as much as I could," said Mr. Ferraz, who is the father of Mrs. Hadley's two other children, Faith, 8 and Mike Jr., 7.

He said Mr. and Mrs. Hadley had grown up together and that Mr. Hadley was a guest at Mr. Ferraz's wedding to Gillian.

"She was a loving person. She loved her kids to death. She didn't even think of herself, which showed when she ran out on the street naked," said Mr. Ferraz, who maintained a good relationship with his wife since they split up in 1996.

Court documents dating back to January, 1999, detail Mr. Hadley's attacks against his estranged wife, her son and a number of other people.

Mr. Hadley, a postal worker, was charged with criminal negligence causing bodily harm following an assault in February, 1999, on Mrs. Hadley's son, Michael Ferraz Jr., who is blind and deaf.

The documents state that Mr. Hadley caused bruising to Michael's buttocks.

He was released on his own recognizance on the condition that he not communicate with Michael unless supervised by the Durham Children's Aid Society or its delegate.

Mr. Hadley was also restricted from being in the company of anyone under 16 unless an adult aged 21 or older was present. An exception was made for Mr. Hadley's step-daughter, Faith Ferraz.

On Jan. 7, 2000, Mr. Hadley was charged with assaulting Mrs. Hadley and breaching a restraining order. He was ordered to refrain from communicating with his estranged wife and two of her friends.

Between Feb. 9 and 22, the harassment allegedly continued and he was charged with criminal harassment and breaching the restraining order.

He was released again under a number of conditions

Mr. Hadley was allowed no communication with Mrs. Hadley and five of her friends and he had to stay away from her home at 865 Hillcrest Rd., the city of Pickering or any place he knew Mrs. Hadley might be. He was not allowed to use a cellular phone or any other mobile communication device.

He was also banned from using the telephone at his place of work unless it was for employment purposes or to call his parents or for emergencies.

Despite these restrictions, about five weeks ago Mrs. Hadley woke up at 3 a.m. to find her estranged husband standing at the foot of her bed, said Irene Owen, whose daughter Kim Nicely was Mrs. Hadley's best friend.

Around the same time, Mrs. Hadley took refuge at Mrs. Owen's home on Westshore Boulevard, just around the corner, after enduring a beating from her husband.

"He beat the hell out of her," said Mrs. Owen. "Her whole face was swollen and bleeding.

"He was a maniac. I hope he's in hell," she said

Mike Harris, the Premier, said yesterday that the court order clearly did not work in Mrs. Hadley's case, and that it's time for the government to look at the effectiveness of restraining orders.

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