Toronto Star

June 30, 2000

'If something good comes out of it, then Jill won't have died in vain.'
-Kim Niceley, one of Gillian Hadley's closest friends

Inquest called in Hadley case

It may be used to stem rising tide of domestic violence

By Stan Josey
Toronto Star Durham Region Bureau Chief

Ontario Chief Coroner James Young will use an inquest into the murder-suicide of Gillian and Ralph Hadley of Pickering to take another look at the rising tide of domestic violence in the province.

``The attorney-general made a lot of positive announcements the other day, and we will look at them and see if there are still gaps and, in fact, if we have a good strategic plan to deal with domestic violence,'' Young said.

The inquest will also look at what has been done so far to implement 213 recommendations made by the 1998 coroner's jury that examined the murder-suicide deaths of Arlene May and Randy Iles.

May, a 39-year-old mother of five was shot through the heart in her Collingwood-area home in March, 1996, by her ex-boyfriend, Randy Iles, who then turned the gun on himself. He was out on bail for assaulting May.

That inquest recommended better community-based supports for families in crisis. Between 1982 and 1997, 550 Ontario women were killed by their intimate partners - an average of 34 per year.

Friends of Gillian Hadley yesterday welcomed the announcement that an inquest would be held.

``If something good comes out of it, then Jill won't have died in vain,'' said Kim Nicely, one of Gillian Hadley's closest friends. Young said the Ontario Provincial Police will be asked to conduct a coroner's investigation into the Hadley case in preparation for an inquest that will probably be set for early next year.

The quiet Westshore community of Pickering was rocked on the morning of June 20, when a naked Gillian Hadley, 35, ran from her Hillcrest Rd. home clutching her year-old son, Chase, and crying for help.

Close behind was her estranged husband, Ralph, 34, armed with a handgun.

The woman managed to hand the baby off to neighbours before the man dragged her back inside the house.

When police entered the house several hours later they found Gillian dead inside the front door from a gunshot wound in the head, and her husband dead in an upstairs bedroom from a similar self-inflicted wound.

Ralph Hadley was supposed to stay away from his wife and out of Pickering under strict bail conditions arising out of criminal harassment and assault charges against Gillian.

Nicely said Gillian Hadley would still be alive today if the courts had heeded warning signs and jailed her estranged husband or subjected him to some sort of electronic monitoring.

``He had been ordered at least three times to stay away from Gillian, but obviously the courts didn't know what really was going on.''

Contents copyright © 1996-2000, The Toronto Star.