Toronto Star

Dec. 4, 02:00 EDT

Hadley took jewelry, papers, inquest told

Move was `for spite,' welfare statement said

Peter Small
Staff Reporter
Toronto Star

SOUGHT AID: Gillian Hadley, shown with Ralph at their '97 wedding.

Ralph Hadley took key financial documents and even his wife Gillian's jewelry and clothes "for spite" when he was forced to leave their Pickering home after assaulting her, an inquest into the couple's murder-suicide has heard.

"When my husband left the premises, he took all (personal) papers regarding the house, as well mortgage papers, banking information, divorce papers from my previous marriage, taxes, support order, as well as clothing, jewelry of mine and my children's," Gillian Hadley, 35, wrote in a declaration when she first sat down with a Durham Region welfare worker in Ajax on Jan. 19, 2000.

Less than two weeks earlier, Ralph, 34, had been forced out of the home as a condition of his release on charges of assaulting Gillian and breaching a peace bond.

Because Ralph had taken key financial and legal papers, welfare workers granted Gillian a temporary deferral on producing documents they normally require before issuing a cheque, Joy Mahorn, a former intake verification worker with Durham Region social services, testified yesterday.

Gillian stated that Ralph had taken the documents and goods "for spite," Mahorn wrote in the woman's welfare application.

"Gillian was a little shaken but composed" at the Jan. 19 meeting, recalled Mahorn, who was a member of a Durham team of welfare workers specially trained to deal with domestic abuse victims.

Gillian, who did not drive, said she needed financial assistance because she had quit her job after Ralph left as she had no way of getting to work, Mahorn testified.

Gillian was issued a cheque for $317.84 for March and $432 for each of May and June, Mahorn said.

With the $300 a month she was getting in child support payments from her first husband, Michael Ferraz, plus about $100 from a federal child tax credit, that left her with a little more than $800 a month to live on, Mahorn agreed with Geri Sanson, lawyer for the Ontario Association of Interval and Transition Houses.

Out of that she had to raise two of her three children, one 6 months old and another aged 7, on her own, her welfare application states.

Near the end of March, Gillian asked Mahorn to write a letter to the region's application centre for subsidized housing. The letter was to verify that she urgently needed subsidized housing because of the domestic abuse she was fleeing, Mahorn testified.

But Gillian didn't come to the welfare office to sign two declarations that needed to accompany the letter before it could be sent, Mahorn said.

Mahorn testified she played telephone tag over the next days trying to get Gillian to come in and sign the two documents. But she never did and the letter was not sent.

Elizabeth Dragon, a supervisor for income support in Durham Region, testified that the region has staff trained to fast-track welfare applications by abused people and to provide them with information about agencies and services available for assistance.

The system has changed since Gillian applied, she testified. Now seven call centres across the province screen applicants and later send their files to local welfare offices for verification, Dragon testified.

The inquest continues today.

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