Toronto Star

Oct. 31, 02:00 EDT

Relatives monitored woman

Ralph Hadley had family spy on wife, inquest told

Nicholas Keung
Toronto Star

GRIM PROCEEDINGS: Heather, the sister of Ralph Hadley, is flanked by parents Christina and Gerald Hadley yesterday.

Ralph Hadley had his relatives spy on his wife Gillian after he became suspicious that she was being unfaithful to him, an inquest has heard.

In a log book recorded and kept by his cousin Gordon Baines, who shared a Pickering house with the couple, a note entered on Jan. 7, 2000 read: "Life is good until Gillian strikes and destroy three family (sic)" with her infidelity.

That was the date that Hadley discovered his wife having sex with "some guy," said the note, which was submitted yesterday as evidence at the inquest into the murder-suicide of the couple.

"Some slap (Gillian) deserved," it said, referring to a physical confrontation between the husband and wife at her secret lover's house that day — an incident that led to Hadley being charged by police with assault.

"Ralph had somewhat become an investigator," Baines told the five-member jury.

The inquest is examining the June 20, 2000 shooting death of Gillian by her husband, who then took his own life.

At Hadley's request, Baines, who lived in the basement of the Hillcrest Rd. home, would record the licence plate numbers on the cars of Gillian's visitors and eavesdrop on her conversations with friends. He would then report back to Hadley, who was under a restraining order to stay away from his wife.

GORDON BAINES: The cousin of Ralph Hadley testified at coroner's inquest.

The inquest is also expected to hear from Gillian's sister and her husband, who helped Hadley monitor his wife.

Baines described Gillian as an uncaring mother who left her three children, Michael, Faith and Chase, unattended, and an irresponsible housewife who cared less about household chores and mismanaged home finances. He also said she was "fired from a bank for fraud."

"I personally felt she may have taken advantage of the situation and seen (the marriage with Ralph) as a way out," Baines told coroner Dr. Bonita Porter. "I am of the opinion that she was not a caring mother."

After Hadley was put under a restraining order as a result of his Jan. 7 arrest, Baines said Gillian started to "play games" with his access to Chase — the only child the couple shared biologically.

He testified he once overheard a conversation between Gillian and her friend Kimberley Nicely, in which she suggested "she's trying to get as much as she can (from the divorce) and she wanted to drive (Hadley) crazy."

Despite all the problems between the two, Baines said, Hadley still stood by Gillian and couldn't understand the terms imposed on him in the restraining order.

"In regards to the charges and the children's aid society and the court and the lawyers, he felt his rights as a human being were violated, that he's a non-person," he said.

Baines acknowledged that Hadley was loud and hard-headed but insisted that his cousin was "verbal but not abusive."

"He was very loud and always tried to enforce his point of view on others," he said, recalling he played the role of a devil's advocate with Hadley as kids growing up in the same Scarborough home.

Baines also told the inquest that Hadley had an "outdated" view of romance between men and women, and "felt that marriage would be more traditional (with) men going to work and wives staying home."

After the January confrontation, Gillian had expressed her fear of Ralph Hadley and her plan to move to Port Perry with the children, Baines said.

Baines said that on several occasions, both Hadley and his father Gerald told him that Gillian "deserved a bullet to the head" for breaking the promise she made with Hadley that neither of them would have affairs or get physical against each other.

But other than demanding that Hadley not make such "ridiculous" comments to him, Baines did not report the verbal threats to the authorities.

"I believed she was afraid of him in her own mind," he testified, adding that he did not feel the family was fuelling Hadley's rage against Gillian.

He said the two families blamed both for their failed marriage.

On June 20, 2000, Hadley sneaked into their Pickering home and gunned Gillian down in the foyer.

Baines said his cousin and Gillian were involved in divorce proceedings a month before their deaths, and he appeared to have moved on with his life when they last saw each other on Fathers' Day at Hadley's parents' house.

"He was no longer angry and you couldn't push his button anywhere. He became very quiet and withdrawn. He seemed very calm," Baines said. "I think (by then) he had already made up his mind what action he was going to take."

Baines still remembered his cousin's last words to him that day when he warned Hadley to watch Chase, then about a year old, who was playing with the glass door at the house.

"Don't tell me how to look after my child," Hadley responded.

The inquest continues today.

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