Toronto Star

Nov. 29, 02:10 EDT

Worker never saw Hadley as a killer

Seemed to be managing anger at wife, inquest told

Peter Small
Staff Reporter
Toronto Star

When an anger-management counsellor first heard that Ralph Hadley had killed his wife Gillian, then shot himself, she walked around saying to herself, "I didn't see it. I didn't see it," an inquest has heard.

"Other than that time he said she was a bitch and slut, there was never a threat," Patricia Andrus testified yesterday.

"I never did think he would do what he did."

In fact, in mid-May, 2000, Hadley's demeanour seemed to improve near the end of their one-on-one anger-management sessions, said Andrus, a John Howard Society counsellor.

Where before he had been stressed out, he now looked much more relaxed, she told coroner's counsel Al O'Marra. "He smiled. I hadn't seen him smile often."

But on June 20, following a meticulously planned script, Hadley broke into the couple's matrimonial home in Pickering and shot Gillian in the head before killing himself.

In their sessions, Hadley admitted to Andrus he was charged with assault for slapping his wife after finding her in bed with another man, she told the inquest. But he denied having an anger problem. Andrus said because of his attitude, she didn't want him to continue with the sessions.

But he persuaded her that there were things he could learn. "I guess he was a lot more persistent than I was," she said.

Hadley never revealed that he had also been charged with criminal harassment after allegedly making unwelcome phone calls to Gillian's home, in defiance of a court order.

"He just continually rationalized and justified" his behaviour, Andrus said, adding she couldn't get him to admit he was using power and control as tools to deal with his estranged wife.

Hadley told Andrus he didn't think it was fair that he was charged with assault and that he had to leave the home, she said.

"He said, `If I had wanted to hurt her, I could have hit her head against the wall,'" not revealing that's in fact what he had done, Andrus testified.

She finally told him she wouldn't work with him unless he accepted responsibility for the assault. He relented.

Hadley also seemed in "great despair" dealing with the loss of his children and home, Andrus testified.

She felt he needed to see a doctor for depression and anxiety. He wept uncontrollably when he described the pain his parents felt for now being denied access to his stepdaughter, Faith, Andrus told the inquest.

But unlike most separated fathers, she said, he was focused more on the loss of his wife than his children.

Hadley seemed "stuck" in his development, and Andrus wanted him to take a peer-support and counselling program that helps fathers move ahead in their development.

The inquest continues today.

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