National Post

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June 21, 2000

In final moments, Pickering mother saves infant son
Then husband kills her
Desmond Brown, with files from Mark Gollom
National Post

Carlo Allegri, National Post
Firemen emerge from the house in Pickering where a man killed his estranged wife and then himself.
PICKERING - Moments after handing over her infant to the safety of a neighbour, a naked, screaming woman was shot to death by her estranged husband, who then took his own life.

The drama, which police are calling a murder-suicide, unfolded around 9 a.m. yesterday on Hillcrest Road, in the Whites Road-Bayly Street area of Pickering.

Neighbours were startled by the screams of 35-year-old Jill Hadley.

She had been accosted by Ralph Hadley, 34, who was under court order to stay away from her.

Katherine Kisielowski was outside her home with her infant cousin when she heard Mrs. Hadley's screams.

"I heard this woman screaming, 'Help me, help me, somebody please help me!' I heard this dog barking and I thought somebody was getting attacked [by the dog].

"Then I looked and I saw this naked woman. She was being held by this man on the sidewalk in front of a house."

Ms. Kisielowski said Mr. Hadley was holding Mrs. Hadley's arms together and pulling her toward 865 Hillcrest Rd., just as a white car pulled into the driveway. She said the driver remained in the vehicle and exchanged words with Mr. Hadley before driving away.

The car pulled out of the driveway and Mr. Hadley dragged his wife back to the house, she said.

A few minutes later, the man in the car returned with his wife and asked Ms. Kisielowski where the couple had gone.

The man and his wife, who live around the corner and have asked not to be identified, went up to the home with Nowell Gordon, 18, who had heard the commotion from the bedroom of his home a few doors away.

"At that point, the lady had a baby and she dived out of the door," said Mr. Gordon.

"A struggle started and the woman grabbed the baby from [Mrs. Hadley's] hands," he said.

Mrs. Hadley was quickly dragged back into the home by her husband, but Mr. Gordon and the man tried to pull her away.

"She was holding on to my arm and yelling, 'Please don't let me go! Please help me!' " Mr. Gordon said.

When it was apparent that Mr. Hadley was losing the battle for his wife, he pulled out a handgun and pointed it at the two men.

"I'm a father," the unidentified man said, "and I had to get out of there."

"Shortly after we walked away, we heard two shots, and that was the end of them," he said at the front door of his home.

During the altercation, Mr. Hadley was very calm, almost apologetic, the man said.

"I've never seen anything like that before. There was no rage. He wasn't angry."

Durham Regional Police arrived on the scene shortly after and tried to make contact with the Hadleys by telephone for almost three hours.

Just before noon, tactical officers entered the home after firing six tear gas canisters through the windows, and found the two bodies.

Kim Nicely, a friend of Mrs. Hadley's, saw her at 8:45 a.m. yesterday when she stopped by the home to walk Mrs. Hadley's eight-year-old daughter, Faith, to school.

Ms. Nicely, who said Mrs. Hadley was wearing her pyjamas when she waved to her from the window, said the two of them had plans to look at homes in Port Perry so Mrs. Hadley could be farther away from her husband.

Ms. Nicely said Mr. Hadley left the family's semi-detached bungalow in January, then became enraged when his wife started seeing another man.

"We went a couple of months without seeing him. Jill thought everything was fine," said Ms. Nicely.

"She was my best friend. She was an excellent mother," she said, weeping.

"Who would have thought he'd do this to her?"

The infant, Christopher Chase, who will turn one in three days, is the Hadleys' only child together. He is now in the care of Mrs. Hadley's parents.

Mrs. Hadley's two other children, Michael, 10, who is blind and deaf, and Faith, are with their father.

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