Toronto Star

Dec. 19, 01:00 EDT

Hadley's behaviour unpredictable

Pickering man didn't fit pattern of a killer, psychiatrist says

Peter Small
Staff Reporter
Toronto Star

Although Ralph Hadley fit the profile of an obsessive stalker who was likely to assault his wife, there was nothing in his profile to show he was capable of a murder-suicide, a forensic psychiatrist says.

"I found that he would have been at high risk of the type of behaviour that led to his arrest," testified Dr. Peter Collins, a forensic psychiatrist with Toronto's Centre for Addiction and Mental Health who is working with the Ontario Provincial Police. "We would not have been able to predict the disastrous consequence, you know, for which we all are here."

Collins was testifying at the coroner's inquest into the deaths of Ralph Hadley and his estranged wife, Gillian. Hadley broke into her home in Pickering on June 20, 2000, and struggled with his naked wife on the street in front of neighbours. He dragged Gillian inside and shot her, then shot himself in the head with a handgun.

Four months earlier, on Feb. 28, he had been let out on bail on charges of criminally harassing his estranged wife and for violating two previous restraining orders. And in early January, he had been charged with assaulting his wife and breaching a peace bond.

Collins, who reviewed all six volumes of the crown's case at the inquest, said it was a very significant "red flag" that Hadley had violated previous court orders. Other elements that made him a high risk to reoffend were his past history of physical assault and his sexual jealousy.

In addition, Hadley had poor anger control and his attempts to justify slapping and bashing his wife against a wall after he found her in bed with another man added to the risk, Collins testified.

But Ralph Hadley was not mentally ill, Collins said. "I did not feel that he had any form of emotional disturbance that one would consider a psychiatric illness."

Asked by coroner's counsel Al O'Marra if Hadley's could be considered a crime of passion, Collins said no, considering the planning that went into it, and the gun and "rape kit" he carried to the house a bag containing a porn magazine, duct tape, women's lingerie and an audio-taped last statement.

Based on the evidence, Hadley should have been detained at his Feb. 28 bail hearing, Collins said.

In other testimony yesterday, Vivien Green of the Woman Abuse Council of Toronto said she is seeing a disturbing trend: many more abused women are being charged with assaulting their spouses.

Now that it's mandatory for police officers to lay charges in domestic assault cases, more often "if there are injuries on both sides, the officer will charge both people," Green said, adding that some of these women have been pleading guilty.

In the courts her group is monitoring, last January there were an average of 1.5 women charged per month in domestic assaults, a rate that had been steady for years. By the end of this year, it jumped to 11.5 per month, she said.

"It really puts women at much higher risk," and less likely to call police, Green said, adding that police officers need to be better trained in domestic assault. "We know that the justice system is incident focused and (the question is) how do we get the context in there about her abuse?"

The inquest continues today.

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