Murder of Victoria Stafford
Victoria "Tori" Elizabeth Marie Stafford was an
eight-year-old Canadian girl abducted from Woodstock, Ontario on April
8, 2009, sexually assaulted and murdered. She was last seen on
security camera footage walking with Terri-Lynne McClintic.
Her disappearance and the subsequent investigation
and search were the subject of massive media coverage across Canada.
The search for her body ended on July 19, 2009, when a child's remains
were found in a wooded area in rural Ontario and were immediately
believed to be those of Tori Stafford. This was confirmed in a news
conference held July 21, 2009.
The police response to the situation as it
developed and their failure to announce an Amber Alert has been
criticized by the public, and has recently been the focus of a review
of the Amber Alert system in Canada. The circumstances of her death
were unknown to the public until a publication ban was lifted in
Abduction and murder
She was seen for the last time at about 3:32 pm Wednesday, April 8,
2009, on Fyfe Avenue, walking past a high school up the street from
Oliver Stephens Public School. She was wearing a black Hannah
Montana jacket with a white fur-lined hood, a green shirt, denim
skirt, black and white shoes and carrying a purple and pink Bratz
A security video taken from the high school shows her walking with
a person of interest. The person of interest is described as a white
female aged between 19-25 - 5'1 to 5'2 tall and weighing approximately
120-125 lbs with straight long black hair worn in a pony tail. She was
wearing tight black jeans and a white puffy jacket. The case was later
featured on America's Most Wanted.
The initial investigation was led by Oxford Community Police
Service, but then turned into a joint operation with the Ontario
On Tuesday, July 21, 2009, at 9:00 am police confirmed the remains
found near Mount Forest, Ontario, approximately 500 meters from
Concession Road 6, were that of Tori. Stafford was found naked from
the waist down, wearing only a Hannah Montana T-shirt and a pair of
butterfly earrings that she had borrowed from her mother. Her lower
half was significantly decomposed.
During an autopsy it was determined that Tori had suffered through
a beating that caused lacerations to her liver and broken ribs. Her
eventual death was the result of repeated blows to the head with a
On May 20, 2009, police charged Michael Thomas Rafferty, 28, with
first degree murder and Terri-Lynne McClintic, 18, with being an
accessory to murder (in addition to lesser charges) in the abduction
and suspected murder of Tori. Ontario Provincial Police indicated that
Tori's mother, Tara McDonald, was familiar with McClintic. McClintic
assisted the police search for the remains of Tori Stafford after her
arrest and her lawyer stated that her client "wants Tori's family to
know she is trying hard to find her body".
On May 28, 2009, McClintic's charges were altered to a first degree
murder charge and an unlawful confinement charge, and it was announced
that the accused would be tried separately.
McClintic was scheduled to make an appearance in court on April 30,
2010, but a publication ban was imposed by the judge on the events of
the day. The publication ban was lifted on December 9, 2010, revealing
that Terri-Lynne McClintic pleaded guilty to first degree murder. She
was sentenced to life in prison.
On March 5, 2012, the trial of Michael Rafferty for the kidnapping,
sexual assault, and first-degree murder of Tori Stafford commenced. On
May 11, 2012, at 9:18 pm ET, the jury found Rafferty guilty on all
charges. Four days later he was sentenced to life in prison with no
chance of parole for 25 years.
Claiming that the "judge's instructions to the jury were flawed,"
Rafferty appealed his conviction to the Court of Appeal for Ontario on
July 26, 2012. The 30-day deadline to appeal had passed by the time
the papers were received, but this was attributed to his "inability to
use the telephone to contact legal counsel," and an extension has been
requested. Rafferty’s appeal papers appear to have been filed from
Stafford Killer Terri-Lynne McClintic pleads
guilty to prison assault
By Jane Sims - QMI Agency
September 12, 2012
LONDON, ONT. - If
she had been in a bigger room, Tori Stafford’s killer Terri-Lynne
McClintic says she “could have really done some damage” to another
inmate she attacked earlier this year.
In a letter intercepted by guards, McClintic
explained to another inmate named Krazy why she attacked Aimee
MacIntyre on Jan. 30.
“It is what it is, point made, statement just not
as loud as I would have liked it to be if you catch what I’m putting
down,” she wrote.
“So I’m f------ choked, I don’t even think I did
that much f------ damage,” McClinitic wrote.
Later in the letter, she said she “would have
preferred a bigger room — then I could have really done some damage.”
McClintic, 22, who is serving a life-sentence for
the murder of Tori Stafford, 8, at the Grand Valley Institution for
Women in Kitchener, Ont., pleaded guilty Wednesday morning to
Justice Colin Westman sentenced McClinitic to six
months for the assault, calling the case “troublesome and tragic.”
Court heard McClinitic had planned to fight the
charge of assaulting MacIntyre until the letter surfaced.
MacIntyre is also serving a life sentence and was
mentoring McClinitc at the time of the assault. Court heard McClintic
had asked to have a peer-to-peer support meeting with MacIntyre on
Jan. 30. The meetings are part of programming at the prison that allow
for mentoring and support.
During the meeting, MacIntyre paused to scratch her
head. McClintic got up from her chair and started to punch MacIntyre
in the head and kick her.
MacIntyre was on the floor in a fetal position and
not fighting back. McClintic continued her assault and several
officers saw the attack.
They struggled to pull McClintic off MacIntyre.
MacIntyre was taken to hospital with significant
bruising to her head and eye area. She also had a bruise on her arm.
But she required no hospitalization and was given
medication before she was returned to the prison for observation.
When she was interviewed by the police on Feb. 2,
MacIntyre said she was experiencing headaches and dizziness.
Since that interview, MacIntyre has not been
co-operative with the Crown making it impossible to prove the extent
of the injuries.
McClintic said little to the police, then admitted
to the assault and said she did not want a lawyer.
She gave no reason for the assault.
Crown attorney Julia Forward said the assault was
McClintic’s tenth conviction for violence and wanted a six month
sentence to reflect the seriousness of the event that was planned,
unprovoked and continued even when the victim was cowering for
It would also be on her record if McClintic planned
to apply for parole under the faint hope clause after serving 15
Defence lawyer Geoff Snow wanted time served and
explained McClintic’s letter was written in anger just hours after the
attack and doesn’t show her remorse.
The judge said it was “hard to see” any remorse,
given “how neat and how she explains herself” in the two-page letter.
“She seems to have some pretty deep-seeded anger,”
Westman said adding that as time passes, “she feels bad.”
McClintic was put in segregation for 30 days and
her privileges were gone for two months, Snow said.
Westman gave McClintic credit for pleading guilty
and added, “I can’t imagine your turmoil you must feel within
“My only hope for you is that you will try the best
you can to have a more civil attitude to fellow human beings ...
Violence is not the answer.”
In 2010, McClintic pleaded guilty to first-degree
murder in the abduction and beating death of Stafford on April 8,
McClintic and her then-boyfriend Michael Rafferty
abducted Stafford outside her school in Woodstock, Ont., and drove her
to an isolated rural area where Rafferty raped her. McClintic then
smashed the little girl to death with a hammer.
Rafferty was convicted May 12 of kidnapping, sexual
assault causing bodily harm and first-degree murder.
Tori Stafford killer back in court today to face
By Allison Jones - Canadian Press
September 12, 2012
The woman serving a life sentence for the
first-degree murder of Tori Stafford is set to have a trial today on
allegations she beat up another inmate.
Terri-Lynne McClintic, 22, will face a charge of
assault causing bodily harm in Kitchener, Ont., at what is expected to
be a one-day trial.
McClintic pleaded guilty in 2010 to the
first-degree murder of eight-year-old Tori Stafford, from Woodstock,
Sentences run concurrently in Canada, so even if
she is found guilty her life sentence remains unchanged.
The charge stems from an incident in January at the
Grand Valley Institution for Women in Kitchener, where McClintic is
serving her life sentence.
McClintic testified at the trial of former
boyfriend Michael Rafferty, who was ultimately found guilty of
first-degree murder, sexual assault causing bodily harm and kidnapping
in Tori’s death, and mentioned assaulting someone in prison.
Under questioning from Rafferty’s lawyer McClintic
said she had specifically asked to be connected to another inmate in a
peer support program and beat her up.
“I confronted her about things that she had said
about me,” McClintic testified at Rafferty’s trial.
“Things escalated and there ended up being an
McClintic agreed with Rafferty’s lawyer, who said
the woman was on the ground in a fetal position while McClintic kicked
her and stomped on her.
“I did assault her,” she said.
That is also how Tori was killed, though Rafferty’s
trial heard conflicting evidence about whether he or McClintic dealt
the fatal blows to Tori.
McClintic’s lawyer on the assault causing bodily
harm charge has said McClintic will not admit to the charge at trial.
Geoff Snow said in May that McClintic will plead
Her testimony from the Rafferty trial cannot be
used against her at the assault trial because she was compelled to
give evidence at the hearing, he said.
McClintic lured Tori away from her school in
Woodstock, Ont., at the end of the school day on April 8, 2009, with
the promise of seeing a dog.
McClintic shoved Tori in Rafferty’s waiting car and
the two of them drove about 130 kilometres north to a secluded field,
where she was raped and brutally beaten to death.
She died from at least four blows to the head from
a hammer and 16 of her ribs were broken or fractured.
The Crown alleges McClintic got into a fight with
Aimee McIntyre, who is also serving a life sentence for first-degree
murder in the death of her former lover, though a new trial was
McIntyre’s trial heard that she drove two men to
her ex-boyfriend’s apartment, one of them stabbed him six times, then
McIntyre drove the pair away from the scene, helped them dispose of
the knife and helped wash their clothes.
The two men pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.
McIntyre’s lawyer had argued that at most she was guilty of
In a decision released in May the Court of Appeal
for Ontario ruled that the trial judge made several errors that mean
she did not receive a fair trial. The court set aside her first-degree
murder conviction and ordered a new trial.
Tori Stafford murder trial at a glance
WARNING: This story contains disturbing details
May 15, 2012
Michael Rafferty has been found guilty of first-degree murder,
sexual assault causing bodily harm and kidnapping in the death of
Victoria (Tori) Stafford, the eight-year-old girl who disappeared
outside her Woodstock, Ont., school three years ago.
Tori, went missing April 8, 2009, and her body was found July 19,
2009, in a field in Mount Forest, Ont., about 100 kilometres from her
Rafferty, 31, had pleaded not guilty to all three of the charges he
Rafferty and his girlfriend at the time, Terri-Lynne McClintic,
were charged in connection with the death.
McClintic, now 21, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in the
case in April 2010 and was sentenced to life in prison with no chance
of parole for 25 years.
She is one of several witnesses who have testified during
This is a review some of the most significant moments of the trial.
March 5 — The trial begins, with Ontario Superior
Court Judge Thomas Heeney presiding. Heeney warns the jury that they
will hear "graphic and disturbing" evidence during the course of the
trial, which is expected to last until June.
Crown attorney Kevin Gowdey tells jurors during opening remarks
that the Crown will present video surveillance and BlackBerry records
that link Rafferty to Victoria's disappearance and outlines the
witnesses the Crown plans to call during the course of the trial. He
says a pathologist will testify that Victoria died as a result of
multiple hammer blows to the head and that the Crown will present DNA
evidence connecting Rafferty's Honda Civic to Victoria's
March 6 — The jury hears from Victoria's Grade 3
teacher, Jennifer Griffin-Murrell; the mother of one of her
classmates, Laura Perry; and OPP Det. Const. Robin Brocanier, who
oversaw the effort to obtain video surveillance from a high school
near to Victoria's school in the days following her disappearance.
Perry tells the court that on the day Victoria disappeared, she saw
her walking from Oliver Stephens Public School behind a young woman
who appeared to be in a hurry. Police used information provided by
Perry to make a composite sketch of the woman she saw, who, it was
later established, was McClintic.
March 7 — Victoria's mother, Tara McDonald,
describes the day her daughter disappeared, saying she did not start
looking for Victoria until 4:30 p.m.
She testifies she had contact with McClintic on two occasions —
when she accompanied her partner, James Goris, to buy OxyContin from
McClintic's mother and to discuss dog breeding. She tells the court
she had a drug addiction and had used OxyContin on the day Victoria
The court also hears from Staff Sgt. Paul Hess of the Woodstock
police, who testifies that the police got notice of Victoria's
disappearance at 6:04 p.m. and by the next day had called on other
police forces in southwestern Ontario for assistance with the search
and within a week, brought in the OPP.
OPP Const. Gary Scoyne lays out the scale of the investigation into
Victoria's disappearance for the court.
March 8 — Det. Const. Sean Kelly of the Woodstock
police testifies that Victoria's mother contacted police April 12 to
tell them she recognized the woman in the surveillance video, which
police had released, as Terri-Lynne McClintic. Kelly tells the jury
police followed up on the information and found McClintic had an
outstanding warrant for breach of a probation order, and they arrested
her for the infraction and interviewed her about her whereabouts on
the day Victoria disappeared.
March 13 — The Crown calls McClintic to testify.
She describes in disturbing detail the abduction and killing of
Victoria. The court hears how McClintic lured the girl into a waiting
car with the promise of showing her a puppy and how she and Rafferty
drove her to a rural area about 100 km north of Woodstock, stopping in
Guelph along the way to purchase a hammer and garbage bags.
McClintic testifies that while it was Rafferty's idea to abduct
Victoria and he was the one who sexually assaulted the young girl, it
was McClintic who delivered the fatal hammer blows that killed her.
This contradicts previous statements McClintic made to police.
The court hears about McClintic's troubled upbringing, her drug
addiction and past criminal record.
March 14 — McClintic continues her testimony,
describing the weeks following Victoria's death. She testifies that in
the hours after the girl died, Rafferty told McClintic to "never speak
about this again." Jurors are shown three pages from McClintic's
journal that contain a series of questions she might be asked by
police along with answers she could provide that were allegedly part
of a "scenario" Rafferty prepared in case the two were questioned by
McClintic describes to the court her visits with Rafferty in
juvenile detention, where she was being held in April and May 2009 for
violating her probation order. She tells the court she told Rafferty
at the time that she would take the rap for Victoria's killing since
he had more to lose than she did.
March 15 — The jury is given a one-day break from
trial proceedings while the lawyers and judge discuss a legal matter
in the case.
March 16 — The Crown questions McClintic about the
statement she made to police in 2009 claiming Rafferty was the one who
bludgeoned Victoria to death, asking whether she wants to amend her
court testimony, which contradicts that statement. After reviewing the
statement, McClintic declines and says she lied in 2009 and that it
was not Rafferty but she who killed the young girl.
She tells the court she changed her story because it took her a
long time to accept that she was capable of doing something so
The jury is shown several excerpts from a video of McClintic's
police interrogation in which she blames Rafferty for the death.
March 20 — The jury is given another one-day break
as the lawyers and judge discuss a legal matter.
March 21 — The Crown wraps up its questioning of
McClintic, with jurors being shown more clips from the video of her
police interrogation from May 24, 2009.
Defence lawyer Dirk Derstine begins his cross-examination of
McClintic, questioning her about a series of letters she wrote from
prison in 2007 and 2008 in which she expressed a desire to kill and
March 22 — Derstine questions McClintic about her
relationship with Rafferty and her violent history and past assault
charges. He also brings up the fact that her claim that she was the
one who bludgeoned Victoria contradicts her initial testimony to
police, in which she claimed Rafferty did the bludgeoning.
McClintic repeats what she told the Crown, that it has taken her a
long time to accept her role in the killing of Victoria.
March 23 — Derstine attacks McClintic's previous
testimony and suggests she, not Rafferty, was the driving force behind
the abduction and subsequent killing of Victoria. Derstine accuses
McClintic of planning the abduction and pushing Rafferty to take part.
The lawyer paints McClintic as someone capable of violence by
describing an incident from her childhood in which she microwaved a
dog and pointing to her love of violent-themed rap music.
The jury also hears from OPP Det. Const. Colin Darmon, who
testifies that in the weeks following Victoria's disappearance, police
received more than 5,000 tips. Several of them mentioned McClintic and
described her as an associate of Victoria's mother and her partner.
Jurors hear an audio recording of a police interview with Rafferty
from May 15, 2009, the first time he was questioned. In it, Rafferty
tells police he and McClintic are only friends and that he has heard
about Victoria's disappearance but doesn't know much about it.
March 27 — Rafferty's friend and former
girlfriend, Barbara Armstrong, testifies she sold him drugs from her
Guelph, Ont., home on the afternoon of April 8, 2009, about one hour
after Tori went missing. She tells the court Rafferty appeared relaxed
and that she saw a dark-haired woman in the car.
The Crown contends that Tori was in the car with McClintic and that
Rafferty bought the drugs before driving to a Home Depot in Guelph and
ultimately the rural area where the schoolgirl’s body was found.
The jury sees Rafferty's bank records, which show he withdrew $80
from an ATM near the Home Depot, and video of McClintic purchasing a
hammer from the store with cash.
Armstrong testifies she saw Rafferty a few days after the
eight-year-old's disappearance and he appeared "haggard" and "super
stressed," although he also said he would help in the search to find
the missing girl.
March 28 — Jurors hear from a woman who found a
pair of shoes along a rural road north of Guelph in April 2009. The
white and blue basketball shoes match the ones McClintic says she
threw out of Rafferty's car as the two drove away after disposing of
March 29 — No court proceedings.
March 30 — OPP Det. Staff Sgt. Jim Smyth testifies
about his involvement in the investigation into Victoria's
disappearance. He describes to the jury his interrogation of McClintic
and how he and other officers took her along on their search for
He testifies that when he drove out to Mount Forest on July 19,
2009, he was merely assessing the area and not expecting to find a
body, but he recognized a house that seemed to be the one McClintic
had described when talking about the area where Victoria was killed.
Smyth followed a laneway near the house that eventually led him to the
pile of rocks under which the girl's body was found.
The jury also hears from Const. Gary Scoyne, a forensic
identification officer with the OPP who first testified at the trial
on March 7. He presents a series of photographs of the rural area
where Tori's remains were found and the state in which police found
April 2 — The jury visits the rural area in Mount
Forest where Tori's remains were found and where her killing is
alleged to have taken place. Jurors are given a guidebook prepared by
the Crown and police that shows landmarks described in trial testimony
and that appear in drawings McClintic had made for police to help in
their search for Victoria's body.
Jurors spend about 30 minutes at the site before retuning to
London. The judge had instructed them to use what they saw at the site
not as evidence but to better understand testimony and evidence
presented in court.
April 3 — Ervin Bauman, the owner of the land
where Tori's body was discovered, testifies that the area where her
remains were found is almost two kilometres from his home and is
rarely used during the winter. His testimony is followed by that of
Michael Pollanen, chief forensic pathologist for the province of
Ontario who performed the autopsy on Victoria's body.
Pollanen describes the nature of the girl's injuries and tells the
court that determining whether or not she was sexually assaulted was
beyond the scope of medical evidence, because of the extent of
decomposition of her body. He testifies that although the autopsy
revealed numerous rib fractures, liver damage and internal bleeding,
it was several blows to the head that were the cause of death.
The jury, who had been warned by the judge that the pathology
evidence would be graphic and that they could ask for a break in
proceedings, is shown some of the autopsy photographs.
April 4 — During cross-examination, Pollanen
testifies that his forensic analysis of Tori's injuries is unable to
determine who inflicted the blows that killed her and that the
"medical evidence is "silent" on the question of whether or not she
was sexually assaulted.
The jury hears from OPP Sgt. John James Stirling, who describes the
massive police operation launched to search for Tori. He testifies
that officers sifted through hundreds of tonnes of garbage at a
landfill, flew almost 1,000 kilometres in a helicopter and walked 51
kilometres along the shoulder of Highway 401 in an effort to locate
the girl or clues to her disappearance.
The jury hears from a number of police officers who were involved
in the arrest of Rafferty on the evening of May 19, 2009, and from OPP
Const. Scoyne, a forensic identification office who has testified on
several occasions throughout the trial. Scoyne presents photos of
items found in McClintic's home after her arrest, including a missing
poster for Tori and a piece of paper with the phone number of Tori's
mother written on it.
April 5 — OPP Const. Scoyne returns to court and
tells the jury that while executing a search warrant at Rafferty's
home, police found a receipt for hair dye that had been purchased
three days after Tori disappeared and matched a box of hair dye found
in McClintic's home. He testifies that police also found a missing
poster distributed during the search for Tori, a black pea coat and
several water bottles.
McClintic had testified earlier that a black pea coat was used to
cover Tori in the back seat of Rafferty's car and that Rafferty has
used water bottles to clean himself after he allegedly raped Tori. Two
bottle caps were found with the girl's remains.
A Crown document read to the court describes how two undercover
police officers posing as inmates were put in the same jail cell as
Rafferty after his arrest and told to listen to what he said. The
document said Rafferty asked them whether they had drugs and admitted
to using oxycontin and percocet, prescription pain medications that
are also used as recreational drugs, on a daily basis.
April 10 — The trial adjourns for one day because
Rafferty's defence lawyer is ill with the flu.
April 11 — The jury hears from several experts
from the Ontario Centre of Forensic Sciences. Forensic biologist
Jennifer McLean testifies that DNA testing revealed that a blood
sample collected from Rafferty's Honda Civic almost certainly came
from Tori and that DNA found in a gym bag inside the car likely came
from Tori, Rafferty and one other individual. McLean also testifies
that a mixture of blood and semen was found on the back of the front
Barbara Doupe, a hair and fibre expert, testifies that a piece of
fabric that appeared to have been cut with a knife was found in
Rafferty's car. McClintic had testified earlier that Rafferty had
instructed her to cut out a portion of his back seat and throw it out
April 12 — Sarah Hodge, a woman Rafferty met on a
dating website, testifies that in the days after Tori's disappearance
Rafferty was constantly checking media reports about the case and
claimed to have "inside information" on drug use by Tori's mother. She
tells the court that Rafferty talked with her about how children who
have been abducted can grow up thinking their abductors are their
Hodge testifies that when she met Rafferty his car had no back
The court also hears from a number of Rafferty's neighbours who
said they saw a vehicle seat in front of his Woodstock home for
garbage pickup sometime during the spring of 2009.
Under cross-examination, the forensic biologist who had testified a
day earlier testifies that the DNA evidence collected from Rafferty's
car could not determine when the samples were deposited and was unable
to reveal whether Rafferty had raped Tori.
The jury also hears from a woman Rafferty asked out shortly before
Tori's disappearance. She testifies that she ditched Rafferty after
their first date because he seemed "really needy."
April 13 — The court hears from several female
acquaintances of Rafferty. One ex-girlfriend testifies that while they
were dating a few years ago, Rafferty often took her on drives down
side roads in areas south of Mount Forest and seemed to know where he
was going. Another woman tells the court that Rafferty consoled her
during the girl's disappearance.
The jury hears again from Hodge, who testifies that after Tori
disappeared, Rafferty changed his status on the dating website he used
to "Bring Tori home."
A former employer of Rafferty's tells the court that while employed
at his landscaping business, Rafferty worked at one landfill site that
was about five kilometres from where Tori was killed.
April 17 — Another woman who dated Rafferty around
the time of Tori's disappearance testifies he appeared to be
distraught after he was first interviewed by police concerning the
girl's disappearance. Joy Woods tells jurors Rafferty was "very upset"
after investigators spoke with him at his home in Woodstock on May 15,
Jennifer Etsell, who dated Rafferty in 2006, says she would often
drive him from Guelph to her home in Hanover, a route that runs
through Mount Forest and comes close to the field where Tori's body
was found. Under cross-examination, Etsell explains they remained on
the highway during their travels.
April 18 — The jury hears about Rafferty's online
activities from OPP Det. Const. Leslie Waldron, including an entry on
his Facebook page posted just hours before Tori disappeared that read:
"Everything good is coming my way."
Jennifer Meloche — one of the more than a dozen women Rafferty
dated in the spring of 2009, including seven he met after Tori's
disappearance — testifies Rafferty talked about a "friend" named Terri
who was in juvenile detention, an apparent reference to McClintic.
Meloche says Rafferty thought police were treating him as "guilty by
association" after his first interview with police because he knew
Meloche says Rafferty was constantly on his BlackBerry, checking
his emails and sending text messages — a common observation reported
by the women he was dating in 2009.
April 19 — David Broad, senior manager for
information security and digital forensics at Bell Canada, presents
Rafferty's BlackBerry records, which show a number of data and voice
calls were made in Woodstock, Guelph and near Mount Forest the day
Tori disappeared. The location and time data, obtained from cellular
towers, seem to match up with the timeline of events described by
Under cross-examination, Broad explains that the data is only good
at determining when a call was started and another radio transmission
expert, Mustafa Bakhtyar, testifies that it cannot be used to pinpoint
a person's location.
April 20 — A former girlfriend of Rafferty
testifies that he asked her to work as an escort and she gave him
almost $17,000 between December 2008 and May 2009. She told jurors she
thought she was in an exclusive relationship with him between April
2008 and his arrest.
She said the two communicated frequently through BlackBerry
messenger. On April 8, 2009, however, she said there were periods when
Rafferty did not respond to her queries.
April 24 — Jurors are given a one-day break as a
legal matter is discussed.
April 25 — OPP Det. Const. Gordon Johnson
testifies that Rafferty kept in communication with McClintic in the
days following Tori's disappearance, exchanging a number of texts and
calls with a cellphone she used.
Rafferty also visited her in a juvenile detention centre after she
was arrested on Apri 12, 2009, on an unrelated matter. Video shows the
two appeared to be happy, laughing, smiling and hugging each other.
April 26 — The Crown wraps its case as a police
expert in forensic video analysis, OPP Special Const. Gerald Lanna,
says Rafferty's Honda Civic cannot be excluded as the vehicle seen
driving in the area of Oliver Stephens Public School just moments
before McClintic is seen leading Tori away.
Lanna says he was able to more positively identify Rafferty's car
at a nearby Esso station around 3:20 p.m. on the day Tori disappeared.
May 1 — The defence calls a single witness, a
woman who picked up her grandchildren from Oliver Stephens Public
School the day Tori disappeared, ending speculation Rafferty would
testify. The grandmother, whose name is protected by a publication
ban, tells jurors she saw a woman matching McClintic's description
enter the school and later saw her walking down the street with a
Defence lawyer Derstine also reads out an agreed statement of facts
that said there was 326 students at Tori's school the day she
May 7 — Derstine tells the jury that McClintic is
an "accomplished liar" with a history of violence during his closing
argument. Taking aim at McClintic's credibility and the prosecution's
case, the defence lawyer argues that McClintic was the engine behind
Stafford's abduction and death.
Rafferty's mother, Deborah Murphy, spoke to reporters outside the
courthouse, saying her son is not guilty.
May 8 — The Crown begins closing arguments as the
trial nears its end. Prosecutor Kevin Gowdey reviews much of the
evidence presented so far, suggesting Rafferty was in control during
the alleged abduction of Tori. Gowdey says McClintic was a "violent
pawn" used by Rafferty.
Rodney Stafford, who has been present throughout most of the trial,
leaves during the middle of the proceedings saying it was too
difficult to hear about the last moments of his daughter's life.
May 9 — The Crown wrapped up its closing argument,
with Gowdey telling the jury that most of the testimony of the woman
now serving time in the killing of schoolgirl Victoria (Tori) Stafford
can be believed.
May 10 — The jury begins deliberations after
Justice Heeney issued his final instructions in the London courtroom.
May 11 — Rafferty is found guilty of first-degree
murder, sexual assault causing bodily harm and kidnapping in the death
of Tori Stafford.
May 15 — Rafferty is sentenced to life in prison
with no chance of parole for 25 years. At the sentencing hearing at a
London, Ont., courthouse, Rafferty apologized to Tori's family but
maintained he is not guilty of the three charges levelled against him
in this case. Tori's family members were also given a chance to detail
their suffering when victim impact statements were read in court.
Tori Stafford trial: How Terri-Lynne McClintic became a killer
By Raveena Aulakh - TheStar.com
May 11, 2012
LONDON, ONT.—The tension was high well before Terri-Lynne McClintic
took the stand on March 13.
But she made it explode. What she left behind was a shocked and
numbed audience — and even more disturbing questions about how this
young woman became a killer.
As the crown’s star witness in its case against her ex-lover,
Michael Rafferty, McClintic unravelled a horrific tale of Tori
Stafford’s last moments. How she, McClintic, put a garbage bag on the
little girl’s head and kicked her. She kicked, she stomped, she
bludgeoned Tori’s head with a hammer.
“I savagely murdered that little girl,” said McClintic.
Tori’s mother, Tara McDonald, buried her head in her fists. Her
father, Rodney Stafford, wiped tears away with his shirt sleeve.
Reporters were too shook up to type on laptops. Some spectators cried
openly, most jurors looked dazed.
How could McClintic do this? How did she ever get this way?
As a child, she microwaved a little dog till it screamed.
As a young teen, she listened to Necro, a Jewish-American rapper
who says he invented “death rap.”
As an 18-year-old, she lured and killed Tori.
As a 21-year-old, she got into a fight in prison and kicked and
stomped on another inmate.
The questions persist. That is the mystery of Terri-Lynne
Creepy crawling, in ya crib, we’re comin’ to kill. Catch you
while ya sleep, wake up to a gun in ya grill. Doing Satan’s business,
tie you up, hang you 22 cal. Bang bang you — Mephisto with a pistol.
‘Creepy Crawl’ by Necro
McClintic was born to a stripper in Woodstock in 1990. At birth,
her mother handed her over to Carol McClintic, her best friend and a
fellow stripper. Carol became her mother and in the next few years,
the two lived all over Ontario, moving every couple of years. They
lived in Guelph, Hamilton, North Bay, Parry Sound, Muskoka.
The moves meant McClintic attended many schools. Her attendance,
she admitted, was always a problem. At school, she says she was
bullied because she was a stripper’s daughter.
When she was about 7 and living in Guelph, Children’s Aid began
what became a long-running interest.
It’s not clear where McClintic was when she started doing drugs,
but she was about 8 years old — the same age as Tori when she was
abducted and killed. McClintic started with weed, slowly graduating to
From then until 18, she was a serious drug-user.
She spent her childhood at two foster homes and her teenage years
at detention homes. From age 12 to 17, she had been in and out for
numerous misdemeanours such as fighting and was convicted of assault
at least six times.
Even in youth detention, she was perpetually in trouble. She wrote
long, lurid letters and diary entries in which she threatened those
who had wronged her, venting about “slaughtering” someone and “ripping
out each bone.”
She signed those letters “murderouz bitchez,” a sign-off she liked
for herself and a friend.
Life was not any better outside the juvenile homes. In 2006,
McClintic, then 16, got into a fight with her mother, punching Carol
and almost causing her to go blind in one eye.
But, in May 2009, Carol told the Star that her daughter had come
home a few months before as a changed person. “We have been tighter
than before,” said Carol. She also said her daughter had been molested
when she was about 4 or 5. Carol said she stopped it as soon as she
Sometime in 2008, the mother and daughter moved to a dilapidated
two-bedroom house in Woodstock. McClintic didn’t have any friends, but
gradually came to know drug dealers in the town.
In early 2009, in the months leading up to Tori’s abduction and
murder, McClintic was taking antidepressants, popping OxyContin and
ecstasy pills regularly, injecting morphine and smoking weed.
The lone positive influence in her life was her godmother.
And it was to her godmother that McClintic recently admitted from
prison that as a child, she had microwaved a tiny family dog. At the
time of the horrid act, she had claimed the dog had been attacked by
another animal. The dog was put down.
Animal torture by young people is considered by forensic
psychiatrists as a harbinger of adult psychopathic behaviour.
Then in February 2009, she met Rafferty and, it appears, fell in
Let’s talk about dead body disposal, my proposal take the
corpse to the bathtub. And drain the blood out of the bastard, strip
ya self nude first so you don’t get blood on ya new shirt.
‘Dead Body’ Disposal by Necro
Even if McClintic and Rafferty’s paths had not crossed, was there
any hope for her? For her life filled with drugs, violence and anger?
And, as ironic as it sounds, was falling in love her final undoing?
McClintic and Rafferty first met at a New Orleans Pizza outlet in
Woodstock in February 2009.
They struck up a conversation while waiting for pizza and Rafferty,
who called her a “cute number,” offered her a ride home. They sat and
chatted in the car in the driveway. Instead of going in the house,
McClintic went for a drive with Rafferty.
They drove around Woodstock and Ingersoll. They talked about
OxyContin. They had sex in the car.
In the next few weeks, he showed up at her place regularly and she
gave him OxyContin. They also went to the movies, spent a night at the
McClintic was in love.
“He always said the right things,” she said wearily while
testifying. “Compared to most men who have been a part of my life . .
. it felt pretty good.”
McClintic says she doesn’t know what happened to her on April 8,
2009, the day she lured Tori as the little girl walked home from
school. Or when she bought a hammer and garbage bags from a Home
Depot. Or why she led Tori back to Rafferty so he could rape her
again. Or why she took the hammer and, in a rage, rained blows on
She was possibly under the influence of drugs, but she wasn’t a few
days later when she landed at Genest Detention Centre in London for
breaching probation orders, and where Rafferty phoned her almost every
day and visited her.
She told him she would take the blame if it ever came to that. She
remembers telling him: “I’m just an 18-year-old junkie anyway, so I’ll
just take the fall for everything.”
The last time she saw him at Genest was May 12, 2009. Recounting
the scene in the courtroom, she remembers touching his face. He looked
up and laughed and he said, “You’ll do anything for a little bit of
McClintic looked straight ahead as she said that in court.
If there was a single poignant moment during her six-day testimony,
this was it.
Blast you with Metallica, rip ya head to shreds like
Hallagher’s sledge hammer, you’re dead like the space shuttle
Challenger. Scar clashes, car crashes, guitar thrashes, barbaric
fascist, smashing you like Cassius.
‘No Remorse’ by Necro
In the end, it did not take long for McClintic to confess.
On May 19, 2009, she walked into an interview room confidently and
walked out a few hours later after giving devastating evidence against
Rafferty, fingering him as the one who raped Tori and then killed the
little girl with hammer blows.
Why? Investigators had almost nothing on her or Rafferty. In fact,
until the day she confessed, the primary focus of the police
investigation had been Tori’s family.
The rumour mill in Woodstock then was that McClintic had heard at
the detention centre that Rafferty was dating many women, sleeping
Another theory is that when Rafferty was first interviewed by
police on the evening of May 15, 2009, he called her up at Genest and
said he wouldn’t be visiting or phoning her for a while.
On the witness stand, McClintic, mostly solemn and polite, said she
confessed that day because it was the right thing to do.
Did she really want to come clean, or was this the wrath of a woman
scorned? And three years later, what made her turn around and confess
that it was she, not Rafferty, who bludgeoned Tori?
The crucial details of Tori’s rape and murder in her police
statement never changed: where Tori and Rafferty were when he was
raping her, what side of the car where he threw Tori down, how he
washed his genitals with water from plastic bottles.
In her turnaround statement to OPP Det. Sgt. Jim Smyth on Jan. 14,
2012, McClintic was vague and took long pauses while answering
questions, raising even more questions.
At one point, she said: “Maybe I did not walk away from the car,
but he called me back in the car so I went back in the car and I
Much of her new statements don’t add up.
So the question is: Why did she take the blame?
That is the McClintic mystery.
What everyone knows, however, is that while in prison, McClintic
told her godmother that she was sad about Tori’s death, but only
because Tori was a child.
McClintic said yes, she could do it again.
Tori Stafford trial: Child-porn evidence the jurors never heard
May 11, 2012
LONDON, ONT. — In early 2009, someone named Mychol googled
“underage rape,” “real underage rape” and “real underage rape
pictures” on his laptop. Between Jan. 25 and April 7, 2009, he also
searched keywords like “real rape,” “the best program to download
child porn,” and “nude preteen.”
Mychol was Michael Rafferty. And Tori Stafford disappeared on April
The evidence found in the Internet searches was never presented to
the jury of nine women and three men now determining the fate of the
31-year-old Rafferty. He has pleaded not guilty to the abduction, rape
and murder of 8-year-old Tori.
Justice Thomas Heeney found that Rafferty’s Charter rights were
violated when investigators did a forensic search on his laptop
without a warrant, and he ruled the evidence obtained inadmissible.
Heeney also said the Internet searches would be prejudicial and could
emotionally bias the jurors against Rafferty.
There was more that was kept from the jury. Only now, with jurors
sequestered and under the constant scrutiny of court officials, can
those details be reported.
Investigators found child pornography — or evidence that child porn
had been accessed — on Rafferty’s laptop, iPod and a 20 GB hard drive
that was found in his home and linked to a previous computer he used.
Police found nine child porn “movies” on the hard drive. It is not
known exactly when they were downloaded or how long they were.
The investigation uncovered 13 women who reported that Rafferty had
a penchant for sexual choking — some of which they said was not
Investigators said they were told Rafferty had one woman who was
reluctant to participate in his sexual violence sign a consent note,
saying she agreed “to what Mike and I are doing tonight sexual choking
and passing out and other things.”
The jury was sequestered at about 5:30 p.m. on Thursday just as
Heeney wrapped up giving them 104 pages of instructions.
The jury can find Rafferty guilty of manslaughter, second-degree
murder, first-degree murder or not guilty. They can either find him
guilty as the principal player, who killed Tori, or by aiding and
abetting the crime, Heeney said.
With the other two charges of abduction and sexual assault causing
bodily harm, there is a straight choice: guilty or not guilty.
Rafferty appeared to listen carefully as Heeney gave instructions,
occasionally closing his eyes and leaning back.
Tori, 8, was abducted while she was walking home from school in
Woodstock. Rafferty and Terri-Lynne McClintic, then lovers, were
arrested a month later and charged. Tori’s body was found on July 19,
2009. McClintic pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and was
sentenced to life in prison in April 2010.
Rafferty’s trial started March 5, drawing as much attention as
Tori’s abduction did three years ago.
Through the nine weeks of the trial, the jury also never heard that
on March 28, 2009, Rafferty downloaded Gardens of the Night on
his laptop — a little-known Hollywood movie about the abduction of a
pretty blond girl while she is on her way home from school.
That was just days before Tori was abducted.
The Crown wanted to enter the movie as evidence of motive and
planning. But Heeney ruled that the film’s “prejudicial impact
outweighs its marginal probative value.” In pre-trial rulings, he also
pointed out that the little girl’s abduction in the movie was
carefully planned, while the Crown would rely on evidence that Tori
was randomly plucked from the street.
But it was the child-porn search phrases the Crown fought hardest
to see entered as evidence.
Search terms such as “underage rape,” “real underage rape” and
“real underage rape photos” were evidence of motive and planning, the
Dirk Derstine, Rafferty’s lawyer, said the three search queries, on
their own, would place undue emphasis on an interest in underage rape,
distorting the fact-finding process.
(Other terms Rafferty searched for included “necrophilia videos,”
“naked girls seazing,” “epileptic naked attack,” and “seizure girls.”)
Heeney ruled “it would be hard for the jury to resist the
temptation to conclude that the applicant is a sexual deviant who is,
therefore, more likely to have committed the rape and murder of the
victim, despite instructions to the contrary.”
The Crown also sought to put into evidence data that showed
Rafferty, who hadn’t previously shown any interest in news websites,
constantly accessed those sites after the abduction and kept track of
progress in the case.
The Crown said this showed Rafferty was wanting to stay a step
ahead of the police.
But Heeney pointed out that Rafferty would have been only one of
hundreds of Woodstock residents who wanted to stay updated about
developments in the case.
On March 13, 2009, Rafferty googled “children for sale” and “sale
of babys,” while on April 23, 2009 — two weeks after Tori’s
disappearance — Rafferty googled the movie Karla, which was
based on the case of serial killers Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka.
In March 2006, Rafferty also used his MySpace account to send
multiple emails indicating that he wanted to marry an Asian woman. He
wrote: “Hey, I’m Mike from Canada, I’m looking for a girl who really
wants to move to Canada but needs to get married to do so ... I have a
good job and a place of my own ... I am willing to marry someone just
so they can move here and obtain a green card.”
At the end of the email, he wrote, “all for a price of course.”
Investigators say he received many replies.
Even without all this controversial information, the emotional
temperature of the trial remained high.
On April 3, Ontario’s chief forensic pathologist, Dr. Michael
Pollanen, who conducted the autopsy, gave evidence that Tori had 16
fractured ribs, a 15-centimetre cut to the liver and her head split in
many places. That day, Rafferty showed up in a purple shirt.
Purple was Tori’s favourite colour.
Tori’s family looked aghast. Rodney Stafford, the dead girl’s
father, left the courtroom.
Throughout the trial, the courthouse in downtown London was abuzz
about the goings on in Courtroom 21, especially when the jury was
excused. But like a well-rehearsed play, by the time the jurors took
their seats every day, they heard only what was in the script —
carefully packaged and edited for them in advance.
Other details the jury did not hear:
- Rafferty did not want the trial to be held in London. One of the
venues Derstine promoted was Hamilton.
- Rafferty wanted to sit beside his lawyer during the trial. But
Heeney ruled that, because this case required high security, Rafferty
should be seated in the dock.
Terry-Lynne McClintic pleads guilty to killing Tori Stafford
By Randy Richmond - The London Free Press
December 9, 2010
The little girl went back to class to get her butterfly earrings.
The woman went into the store to get garbage bags and a hammer.
The girl was found covered in garbage bags, killed by "multiple
force blunt impact."
Nearby were the butterfly earrings.
With those simple but harsh connections exposed, Terry-Lynne
McClintic, 20, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and was sentenced
to life in prison in the death of eight-year-old Victoria 'Tori'
But in a long, emotional day in court April 30 -- unable to be
reported on until now -- McClintic offered no real explanation for why
she lured the bright-eyed girl to her death with the promise of seeing
"I didn't wake up that morning thinking I was going to take a
child," McClintic, at times sobbing, at times her words barely
understandable, told court.
"Every day I think that maybe if I hadn't walked down the street
that day, that precious little angel would still be here. Every day I
ask myself why. Why did I tell myself that everything would be okay?
Just why? I can't honestly explain my thought process on that day."
She offered an apology to Tori's family, watching in a stony
"A million tears will never be enough and a million words would
never be able to express how truly sorry I am."
Her words brought little comfort.
"It was garbage, you can print that," Tori's mother, Tara McDonald,
said in an interview later. "I don't want to hear your apologies.
There are not enough apologies in this. If you apologize every day
until the day you die it is never going to be enough. Never."
A Supreme Court of Canada decision today allows the media to report
a limited amount of information released in Woodstock court April 30,
- The fact that McClintic pleaded guilty to first-degree murder,
was convicted and given the mandatory life sentence. She will be
ineligible for parole for 25 years.
- Victim impact statements from Tori Stafford's family.
- An edited version of McClintic's statement to court.
- An edited version of what happened April 8, 2009, the day Tori
Stafford went missing.
- An edited version of a statement of facts outlining McClintic's
dealings with police and the search for Tori's body.
- The reasons for the partial publication ban imposed on the April
The drama of that day in court can also, finally, be reported.
Told a few days earlier that McClintic was going to plead guilty,
the family and friends of Tori filed quietly into the third- floor
courtroom of the historic Woodstock courthouse and filled several rows
on one side of the courtroom.
McClintic's mother, Carol, sat in the middle of the courtroom
several metres away.
On the other side of the courtroom from the family sat dozens of
reporters aware this was going to be no ordinary hearing.
There was silence as McClintic was brought into court, wearing a
tailored black suit and a cream shirt, her hair pulled back.
She was neither handcuffed nor shackled.
At times sitting, at times standing in a prisoner's box with
plexiglass walls, McClintic herself cried frequently. After several
family members read statements about the impact of Tori's death,
McClintic threw up in a waste paper basket.
She began her day in court replying softly to questions from
Justice Dougald McDermid.
You are charged with first-degree murder. What is your plea?
" Guilty," McClintic replied in a soft monotone.
A charge of kidnapping was dropped.
Several times, McDermid questioned McClintic about her motive for
pleading guilty to first-degree murder, making sure she understood she
was heading for life in prison.
Her voice breaking, McClintic replied:
"It seems like the right thing to do."
Before a summary of McClintic's role in the killing was read aloud,
Tara McDonald, crying, and some of her family left the courtroom.
Rodney Stafford, Tori's father, and others remained in their seats.
"I wanted to see her suffer," Tori's aunt, Randi Millen said in an
interview several days after the hearing. "I wanted that. She looked
disgusted with herself."
In a quick, yet emotionless voice, Crown Attorney Geoff Beasley
read aloud the details of the day Tori disappeared in the agreed
statement of facts. Only some of those details can be reported now.
McClintic spent the day doing the ordinary tasks that belied a life
on the edge of poverty and disarray.
She got some food vouchers and food, tried but failed to apply for
a job, then ended up outside Oliver Stephens elementary school in
Tori had been in line with her schoolmates waiting to get out, but
rushed to get her mother's earrings that she had borrowed that day and
left in class. She made it back in line with the rest of her
classmates when the bell rang.
From 3:25 p.m. to 3:32 p.m, Tori walked alone north on Fyfe Ave.,
toward her new home on Frances St.
She was the first child McClintic saw walking toward her.
McClintic struck up a conversation with Tori, telling the girl she
had a Shih Tzu dog.
Tori told McClintic she had the same kind of dog.
McClintic invited Tori to come and see her dog. A surveillance
video shows the two walking into the parking lot of a nursing home.
The two went to Guelph and at 5:12 p.m., McClintic bought a hammer
and garbage bags at the Home Depot on Woodlawn Rd. in Guelph.
The pair then went to a location north of Guelph.
"In a remote location on a side road in the 6th Concession north of
Arthur Township, Victoria Elizabeth Stafford was murdered and her body
was concealed," Beasley read.
Between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. Terri-Lynne McClintic returned to her
residence in Woodstock.
As soon as police released a videotape of a woman walking with Tori
on Fyfe Ave., they received tips the woman was McClintic.
They took her into custody April 12 on an unrelated matter. But it
took until May 19, after several rounds of questioning and a polygraph
test, for McClintic to admit her involvement.
The edited version of events released after the April 30 court
hearing cleared up some of the mysteries and rumours surrounding the
abduction, killing and search for Tori's body -- which riveted a
nation in the spring of 2009.
B McClintic said she did not know Tori. The girl was simply the
first child she saw walking toward her after school that day.
B Tori was killed in the remote wooden area where her body was
But the information released in court does not clear up other
mysteries and re-ignites questions about police actions when the
little girl was abducted.
For example, the official statement of facts states police
considered the case one of abduction as early as April 9.
In public, police insisted the case was not one of abduction, and
Woodstock children were safe, until April 17.
Also released from the April 30 hearing were the heart-aching
victim impact statements from Tori's family, some read in court that
day, some videotaped earlier.
"The emptiness is overwhelming," Tara McDonald said in court. "I
miss her so much that many times, if I didn't have my son, I probably
would have taken my own life because the agony of not having her with
me is so great."
The girl's father, Rodney Stafford, asked aloud the questions he
longed to ask his daughter, questions for which there are no longer
"Hey Victoria, are you ready to go to the prom? Victoria, are you
ready to graduate? Are you ready to walk down the aisle, Victoria?"
At the April 30 hearing, McDermid issued a sweeping and
controversial publication ban that allowed the media to report only
that McClintic had a court appearance scheduled for that date.
On May 18 lawyers presented their arguments for and against a ban.
The next day, McDermid ruled that the ban be partially lifted.
But that ruling was appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada.
The Supreme Court denied leave to appeal on Dec. 9, meaning
McDermid's original ruling of May 20 stands, allowing a partial ban.
The reasons for the ban centre on the fact that co-accused Michael
Thomas Rafferty has yet to go to trial.
"In my opinion, publishing the fact that Ms. McClintic pleaded
guilty to the first-degree murder of Victoria Elizabeth Stafford and
was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment does not present a
real and substantial risk to the fairness of Mr. (Michael Thomas)
Rafferty's trial," McDermid ruled.
The trial judge for Rafferty will make it clear to the jury
McClintic's plea has no bearing on whether Rafferty is guilty,
But McDermid stopped short of allowing all the details of Tori's
death to be revealed before Rafferty's trial.
" . . . with respect to evidence about the circumstances giving
rise to and surrounding the murder of Victoria Elizabeth Stafford, I
believe a publication ban is necessary in order to prevent a real and
substantial risk to the fairness of Mr. Rafferty's trial."
Some information in the original statement of facts is
"sensational, inflammatory and evokes a visceral response," McDermid
In the months that followed the hearings, Stafford and other family
members expressed in interviews with The Free Press a a wild tangle of
emotions such as anger at what they heard in court and some relief
that one step in the long road to justice had been taken.
"Nothing would ever make up for what she went through." said her
paternal grandmother Doreen Graichen. "There is no justice . . . that
is a big enough price."
On April 30, however, family members walked out of the courthouse
and through a gated parking lot to their vehicles with few words for
reporters -- their only reaction to the horror of what they heard in
court that day a grim silence.