Toronto Star

Dec. 5, 02:00 EDT

Ralph Hadley gave doctor no clue of his plans

MD saw no signs of impending murder or suicide

Peter Small
Toronto Star

Seven months before Ralph Hadley murdered his wife and killed himself, he was diagnosed as clinically depressed but gave no hint of being suicidal or homicidal, his long-time doctor says.

But Dr. Mark Milgram didn't explore the cause of his depression "because Ralph kept to himself" and was not one to talk about himself, the physician testified yesterday at an inquest into the June, 2000 murder-suicide of Hadley and his wife Gillian.

Hadley came to see Milgram in October, 1999, confiding that he was involved in a criminal case involving the children's aid society and his 6-year-old stepson, Mikey.

"He was a little depressed and I asked him to take a depression test," the Scarborough doctor said.

Hadley scored 13 on the test. Anyone with a higher score than 10 is classified as depressed, Milgram told the five-member inquest jury.

Among the test's multiple choice responses Hadley picked were: "I tire easily"; "I push myself to get going in the morning"; "I don't feel rested after sleeping"; "Food doesn't taste as good as it used to"; "Sometimes I'm too tired for sex", and "I can't cope with things very well lately."

Milgram prescribed the anti-depressant drug Celexa. On Nov. 4, 1999, Hadley told his doctor that he had been charged by police and had taken an inconclusive polygraph test regarding some bruises found on Mikey at the Hospital for Sick Children.

On a Nov. 18, 1999 visit, Hadley told Milgram that for several days he hadn't gone to the Toronto postal sorting plant where he worked the 4 p.m. to midnight shift. "He wanted to change the shift so that he could spend more time with his family," the doctor said.

Hadley also told him that he and his wife were seeing a family therapist. The doctor sent Canada Post a note saying "he needs the change for his health, both physical and emotional."

Hadley asked for and received a referral to a psychiatrist from Milgram. At Canada Post's request, on Dec. 3, 1999 Milgram followed his first note with a more detailed letter explaining why Hadley needed to change shifts, noting "he has come under a lot of stress."

In his visits, Hadley never expressed any suicidal thoughts or indicated he was thinking of doing any harm to his wife, Milgram testified.

The doctor also saw Gillian Hadley in 1997 and in November, 1999, and she didn't express any fears for herself or her family, he testified.

Also in testimony yesterday, Toronto police Detective-Sergeant Steve Horwood, who is seconded to the Ontario Provincial Police weapons unit, said that the .25-calibre semi-automatic pistol that Ralph Hadley used to kill Gillian and himself was a "Saturday night special." The weapon would typically sell for $70 (U.S.).

It is a prohibited firearm in Canada.

It was originally bought by an American on June 10, 1988, at the Shootin' Iron Emporium in Garfield Heights, Ohio, Horwood said. But the original owner has since died and there is no subsequent history of the handgun, Horwood said.

"A lot of them enter the secondary market at gun shows and flea markets," Horwood testified. Large profits can be made by smuggling such weapons into Canada, he said. They would sell on the street in Canada for $500 or more, he said.

The inquest continues today.

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