Bruce McArthur prosecutors seeking life sentence for serial killer

Erika Holt
February 8, 2019

Bruce McArthur, the Toronto Gay Village serial killer, staged photos of his victims after he strangled them, a court heard yesterday.

One by one, family and friends of men murdered by Bruce McArthur walked to the front of a crowded courtroom and spoke of the devastation, anger and personal struggles they experienced as a result of the serial killer's crimes.

But Miglin said the practical reality is that McArthur would likely never get parole if he gets the most lenient sentence. In each of the folders were pictures of the victims.

Top row (left to right) are Selim Esen, Soroush Mahmudi, Dean Lisowick and Abdulbasir Faizi. All of the men had ties to Toronto's gay village. "For years, members of the LGBTQ community believed they were being targeted by a killer", Cantlon told the court.

By this time, McArthur was very much on the police radar after officers has linked his vehicle to the 2017 disappearance of Andrew Kinsman, later revealed as the eighth murder victim, court heard.

"Some victims were forced to live parts of their life in secret because of their orientation". Numerous victims, for instance, had to hide their sexuality from family members or contend with unstable housing situations, he said.

The eight men who were murdered by Bruce McArthur in Toronto.

The victims fit a pattern: Most were of Middle Eastern or South Asian descent and lived on the margins of Canadian society, their disappearances attracting little attention.

Cantlon said the two met through an online dating app in 2017. McArthur would later access some of the photos long after the killings.

McArthur has been in prison since January 2018 while investigators discovered dismembered remains in planters at home he used as storage for his business.

The prosecutor said McArthur shaved victims after he killed them and kept some hair.

The prosecution did not display the images found on McArthur's electronic devices during the session, but said they included after-death photos of six of the eight victims.

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Cantlon said Kinsman's disappearance is what led police to a break in the case.

McArthur was arrested but not charged for attempting to choke a man in the back of his van in June 2016.

The review was sparked by the detective leading the investigation, then-Det.

McArthur was even arrested following the incident and investigated by police but ultimately he was set free without any charges.

The macabre details emerged as the sentencing hearing began for the former gardener who preyed on men from Toronto's Gay Village district.

Among her emotions is the vengefulness she feels toward McArthur, who sat motionless for the second straight day as the impact statements were read aloud in sequence.

"For us now to hear of such a terrible death, we who live in this world as refugees feel like there is no safety for us anywhere in the world", he said in his victim impact statement. "He wanted to make the world a better place".

"The news crushed me", said Jean-Guy Cloutier, who had reported Navaratnam missing.

Kanagaratnam, who was murdered in 2016, came to the country aboard the MV Sun Sea after fleeing Sri Lanka in 2010, said a friend who made the journey with him.

The investigation found that McArthur had actually been arrested by police before.

The Crown read out a statement by Lisowick's daughter. Esen supported his sister when her husband died, Nadia Wali said on behalf of Esen's family. But he called the Crown's request for 50 years of parole ineligibility "unduly harsh", citing McArthur's age and the fact McArthur, by pleading guilty, helped ensure the case reached a speedier resolution than if it went to trial.

The force's professional standards unit launched an internal investigation related to the McArthur case in March 2018, two months after the self-employed landscaper was first charged with murder.

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