Toronto Star

Nov. 8, 02:00 EDT

Officer felt husband would kill

Gillian Hadley `was in trouble,' inquest told

Nicholas Keung
Toronto Star

Ralph Hadley's constant stalking and harassment of his estranged wife Gillian was originally treated as a low-priority call by Durham police, an inquest has heard.

Constable Cheryl Carter said Gillian filed a complaint against Hadley, who was under a restraining order not to communicate with his wife, at 11:19 a.m. on Feb. 22, 2000, but police were dispatched only a day later.

The call had been displayed on the police computer system and listed as "low priority," said Carter, who took it upon herself to attend Gillian's Hillcrest Rd. home in Pickering at 8 p.m. the following day.

"The fact that it's a domestic (case), it's more than a low-priority call. She was in trouble. A car needed to be dispatched," the six-year veteran testified yesterday at the inquest into the couple's June 20, 2000 murder-suicide. "I didn't feel comfortable that this call had been on the screen for this long."

According to court documents, Hadley had called Gillian at least eight times from Feb. 13 to 21, 2000, and was spotted lingering near her house on seven occasions.

Hadley was under a restraining order awaiting trial for assaulting Gillian on Jan. 7, 2000, when he caught her having sex at her secret lover's Ajax home.

He consistently pushed Gillian to meet with him and threatened to make public some "compromising" photos of her and her lover Clark Kostyshyn.

"After what you've done to me, wait till I get through with you, what I'm going to do to you," Hadley apparently told his wife in the last phone call before she called the police.

Carter said Gillian was more annoyed at the time than concerned about her safety.

But Carter, who has taken domestic violence training on her own initiative, told Gillian, "I believe he would kill you. He is losing control of you and I'm extremely concerned for your safety."

Based on materials from courses she took at Durham College, Carter assessed the risk factors facing Gillian and determined that her life was in great danger.

Hadley was arrested on Feb. 25, 2000 and released on bail three days later. On June 20, he snuck into Gillian's home and shot her before taking his own life. Gillian was among five victims of domestic violence in Ajax and Pickering in 1999 and 2000, Carter said.

After the couple's deaths, Durham police introduced a new directive on domestic violence on Sept. 8, 2000, providing officers with a specific investigative checklist and a case threat assessment form.

But "there was no training and we were (only) told to fill out these reports when an arrest was made," Carter noted.

When asked by coroner's counsel Al O'Marra if there was more she could have done to help save Gillian, she replied, "I don't really know. The crown could have called me to the bail hearing. In this case, I might have a chance to talk to (Hadley's lawyer)."

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