Toronto Sun

October 27, 2001

Doomed wife lost struggle: Inquest

By BRIAN GRAY -- Toronto Sun

Gillian Hadley's desperate dash to save her life ended when the neighbours trying to rescue her lost a tug-of-war with her estranged husband at the couple's front door.

"Gillian was fighting with all that she had to try to get out of the house. And, in retrospect, we were all that she had," John Wallace told a coroner's inquest into Gillian and Ralph Hadley's June 2000 murder-suicide.

"When we let go she moaned, because I think that she knew."

Thirty seconds after Ralph Hadley had pulled his wife inside and shut the door, Wallace heard a gunshot, he said during an emotional afternoon on the witness stand.

Less than a minute later, he heard a second shot from inside the Pickering bungalow.

Police investigators determined that Hadley snuck into the Hillcrest Rd. house the day of the killings.

A court order had banished him from the home after he was charged with assaulting her in January 2000.

Wallace and his wife, Ana, went to the front door of the home after neighbours told them they saw a man drag a naked woman inside.


"You do what you have to," Wallace said of his actions that day. "There's a right thing to do in situations."

After saying a prayer, he knocked on the door and Ralph Hadley answered while a still-naked Gillian attempted to dart out with the couple's year-old child in her arms.

But her husband snagged her by her right arm and Gillian tumbled and fell to her knees. Ana Wallace told the three-womam, two-man jury that she grabbed the baby to stop him from being trampled.

John Wallace said he was yelling at Hadley, trying to get his attention, but the burly 34-year-old just stared at the ground and said, "She's psychotic, she can't leave this house."

A second neighbour, Nowell Gordon, joined the struggle but Hadley fought them off.

"It was the oddest thing," Wallace said. "He was so focused and so strong in that moment. But we did start to overcome him in the end."

It was when Hadley pulled a .25-calibre handgun from his pocket, that Wallace and Gordon finally let go while he and Gillian disappeared inside.

"Two people, two bullets," Wallace testified when asked by Crown counsel Al O'Marra how he knew the Hadleys were both dead after the gunshots. "It was just long enough for him to think about what he'd done and kill himself."

Copyright © 2001, Canoe Limited Partnership.