Toronto Sun

Wednesday, October 31, 2001

Inquest told of murder threats

Cousin heard Ralph Hadley talk of killing his wife


Ralph Hadley often told his father and cousin that his estranged wife, Gillian, "deserves a bullet to the head," an inquest into the Hadley's murder-suicide heard yesterday.

Gordon Baines, Ralph's cousin and co-owner of the Pickering house where the Hadleys died, delivered the jolting testimony during the inquest's fifth day yesterday.

"A lot of things were said in anger," Baines said of conversations he had with Hadley and Hadley's father, Gerald.

"I did not take these as threats," Baines said. "I did not take these as directives. I did not take them seriously."

On June 20, 2000, Ralph slipped into the Pickering home where Gillian was living on the main floor and Baines in the basement. He shot his estranged wife, then took his own life.

Baines testified Ralph once told him: "If I wanted to, I could probably get a gun," indicating he knew people at the post office where he worked who could get him a weapon.

Baines said Hadley's father referred to his daughter-in-law as "the bitch" and told his son she deserved to be shot.

"I don't believe (the threats were) feeding his rage. It would be sharing his rage," Baines told the five-member jury.

Baines testified he heard at least 12 such exchanges -- all after Jan. 7, 2000, when Ralph walked in on Gillian having sex with another man.

Hadley's demeanour changed two weeks before the murder-suicide and he no longer appeared angry, Baines said.

"In hindsight, I think he had made up his mind at that point at what course of action he was going to take," he said.

Baines testified also he made it clear to Hadley that he didn't think his threatening comments were appropriate because Baines' sister, Cheryl, had been murdered by an abusive boyfriend in March 1990.

His sister's killer -- Jeffrey Theys -- had worked with Ralph Hadley at Canada Post, Baines said, and he'd introduced them because they "had similar ideas on relationships."

The inquest continues today.

Copyright © 2001, Canoe Limited Partnership.