Toronto Sun

Friday, January 18, 2002

Hadley did not 'snap'

He carefully planned to kill wife: Expert

By SARAH GREEN, Toronto Sun

There were "red flags" that a possessive and jealous Ralph Hadley would kill his estranged wife prior to the murder-suicide, a coroner's inquest heard yesterday.

Myrna Dawson, a sociologist with York University and University of Western Ontario, said Hadley had a history of violence against Gillian, 35, and he was facing charges of assaulting her at the time of the June 20, 2000 tragedy.

Hadley, 34, had also repeatedly violated court orders to stay away from his wife, suggesting "there was a clear disregard for the law," Dawson, an expert on the murder of women by their partners, said.

The couple was also separated -- the predominant motive in these murders -- and Gillian was in a new relationship, which "compounded her risk," Dawson said.

There were also prior threats against Gillian, who feared "big time" that the hostility against her and her new boyfriend would escalate, she said.

A Durham police constable also wrote that Hadley could harm Gillian in documents prepared for his Feb. 28, 2000, bail hearing on charges of criminal harassment.

"Ralph Hadley should have been detained when there was a perceived threat to Gillian," Dawson said.

She said Hadley did not "snap" before the murder-suicide, noting he carefully planned the killing.

"It's not a momentary, explosive act," she said.

Dawson -- who has studied 705 murders of Ontario women by their partners -- said these killings are predictable and preventable.

"These cases are not inevitable," Dawson said. "They're not explosive, isolated acts of passion."

Dawson said many of these warning signs were highlighted at an inquest nearly four years ago into the murder-suicide of former lovers Arlene May and Randy Iles.

Studies also show women are 12 times more likely to be killed by their partners if they have children from a previous relationship.

Gillian had two children from her first marriage.

Dawson was the final witness at the inquest. The hearing resumes Thursday when the jury will hear final arguments from lawyers.

Copyright © 2002, Canoe, a division of Netgraphe Inc.