Toronto Sun

Tuesday, October 30, 2001

Friend: Woman aware of peril

Murdered by ex


Gillian Hadley told her closest friend that she didn't feel safe in her house but wouldn't move until her daughter finished the school year, a coroner's inquest heard yesterday.

"She didn't want to uproot Faith," Kim Nicely yesterday told the inquest into the June 20, 2000, murder-suicide of Gillian and Ralph Hadley. Only days before the school year ended, Ralph, 34, broke into the Pickering home and shot his wife, then himself.

"Everyday living was hard enough, let alone the burden of dealing with Ralph," Nicely said of Gillian's experience after the marriage fell apart in January Nicely testified police told Gillian it would be better if she stayed in the house, but Ralph constantly broke the conditions of his bail that required him to stay away.

Gillian also called public housing authorities trying to speed along her placement in an alternate home, but Nicely said she was told not to call back until they contacted her.


On the day she was murdered, Gillian had made plans to go house-hunting with Nicely in Port Perry.

Nicely said as she drove eight-year-old Faith to school, Gillian waved to her from the bay window of her Hillcrest Rd. home. It was the last time she saw her alive.

Investigators believe Ralph was waiting in the backyard and entered through an open window to the master bedroom.

"I told her as a single mom, she should get that window fixed," Nicely told the three-woman, two-man jury. "But she laughed and said, 'He's too fat to fit in through that window.' "

Just before 9 a.m., a naked Gillian ran onto the street in front of the couple's house seeking help. She went back to get the couple's year-old son, Christopher, after Ralph caught up with her.

Nicely testified she believes if Ralph had stayed in jail after he broke bail in February, the couple would be alive today.

"To me she's a hero because she ran back into that house to save her son," she said. "I hope this isn't all in vain."

Copyright © 2001, Canoe Limited Partnership.