Toronto Sun

Thursday, December 6, 2001

Killer depressed

Feared family would disappear, inquest told

By BRIAN GRAY, Toronto Sun

Clinical depression kept Ralph Hadley from leaving home because he irrationally feared his family would disappear before he returned, a coroner's inquest heard yesterday.

Family counsellor Birgit Van Helsdingen told the inquest into Gillian and Ralph Hadley's murder-suicide that Ralph cried through a session on Oct. 28, 1999, when he revealed his fears.

"He envisioned he would come home and the family would not be there," Van Helsdingen said. "But he admitted his feelings were not reality based."

Ralph missed work for almost a month in the fall of 1999 because he couldn't leave the house.

The depression drove Ralph to seek help from his family doctor days later, and after a depression test confirmed his poor mental state, Dr. Mark Milgram perscribed an anti-depressant.

However, the doctor never saw signs Ralph was suicidal, Milgram testified yesterday. "Usually the patients will almost tell you they want to kill themselves," he said.

Van Helsdingen said Ralph had "power and control and anger issues" to work out during five sessions between Oct. 5, 1999 and Feb 4, 2000, but even Gillian never expressed any fears about Ralph physically abusing her or the children.

In their last meeting, Ralph told Van Helsdingen about finding Gillian having sex with another man, slapping her shortly afterwards and putting her in the car.

"What would have any other man done?" was Ralph's attitude, Van Helsdingen testified.

"He was thinking in terms of justifying the assault."

The inquest continues Monday.

Copyright © 2001, Canoe Limited Partnership.