Toronto Star

Dec. 1, 02:00 EDT

`Distant' Hadley didn't offer wife comfort

Ignored tears over son's abuse, inquest told

Peter Small
Staff Reporter
Toronto Star

Gillian Hadley seemed very loving toward her husband the year before he shot both her and himself, but he acted distant toward her, a children's aid worker says.

Ralph Hadley seemed primarily focused on himself at a meeting on Feb. 15, 1999, Durham Children's Aid Society intake worker Lorraine Joynt testified yesterday. At the time, the family was being investigated over bruises found on Gillian's disabled 5-year-old son, Mikey.

"He didn't comfort Gillian," who was in tears over the probe, Joynt told the inquest looking into the June 20, 2000, murder-suicide of the Pickering couple.

Joynt first dealt with the family in November, 1998, after Gillian alleged emotional abuse by her ex-husband, Michael Ferraz, father of Mikey and Faith, 6.

But in December of that year, suspicion fell on the Hadleys after minor bruises were found under the boy's eyes. The society sent Mikey to be examined at the Hospital for Sick Children. But the bruises were found to be "non-specific," Joynt said.

In 1997, the children's aid society had investigated another set of bruises on Mikey, but closed the file after no cause was found.

In January, 1999, Joynt had a case conference with the Hadleys. She said Ralph tried to control the conversation.

On Feb. 1, Joynt got yet another report from a doctor about traumatic bruising on Michael. Police and the children's aid in Durham launched a joint investigation.

"When it became a criminal matter, (Ralph) became more upset and he became angry," Joynt testified.

On Feb. 15, Joynt met with the couple. She said Gillian, 34, was in tears, but Ralph didn't comfort her.

The marks on Mikey included a multitude of small, round "bluish" bruises on the boy's buttocks, plus marks on his scrotum and around his eyes. Doctors found the injuries were caused by trauma, Joynt said.

On Feb. 24, a family court judge issued a supervision order, placing Mikey with his biological father. The Hadleys were allowed to see him only on supervised visits, and while Ralph attended the first visit, he often didn't show up on those that followed, Joynt told crown counsel Lori Hamilton.

Despite the stress of the probe, "Gillian was very loving to Ralph. Ralph was more distant from Gillian."

In April, Ralph was charged with criminal negligence causing bodily harm to Mikey. That charge was withdrawn eight months later, after he signed a peace bond.

The inquest continues Monday.

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