LONDON, Ont. — Terri-Lynne McClintic is telling a jury she’s the one who delivered what the Crown alleges were the fatal blows to eight-year-old Victoria Stafford.
McClintic testified Tuesday at Michael Rafferty’s first-degree murder trial and detailed the events surrounding the abduction and death of Tori.
The Grade 3 student went missing outside her school on April 8, 2009 and the Crown alleges she died from multiple blows to her head with a hammer the same day.
McClintic told the jury she struck the girl with the hammer “maybe three” times in a farmer’s field after a garbage bag was placed over Tori’s head.
McClintic, at times wiping tears from her face and taking long pauses, told the court she saw Rafferty attempt to rape the girl before that, but didn’t “stay there and watch. I can’t really give you play-by-play.”
McClintic did note that when she took the girl to use the washroom in the field, after Tori had been alone with Rafferty, she noticed blood in the snow.
“I told her that I was sorry. She told me just don’t let him do it again,” McClintic said.
Rafferty has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder, sexual assault causing bodily harm and kidnapping. McClintic pleaded guilty in April 2010 to first-degree murder and is serving a life sentence.
Her first day of testimony saw the main and overflow courtrooms filled to capacity as people lined up for hours to hear McClintic’s version of events.
Her testimony was to continue Wednesday.
Earlier Tuesday, McClintic told the jury she lured the girl into Rafferty’s car with the promise of seeing a puppy. She says while driving on Highway 401 with Tori in the car Rafferty said, “we can’t just keep her, but we can’t take her back.”
McClintic told the jury that when Rafferty said he intended to have sex with the girl she “didn’t want to acknowledge that.”
“I remember him telling me to look for a spot. I said ‘A spot for what?’ and he didn’t answer me,” she said.
Court also heard that Rafferty began masturbating as he pulled the car off a country road, and that once stopped in the field McClintic walked away because she “knew what was going to happen.”
“I believed he was going to rape Tori,” McClintic told court.
McClintic testified she was high on drugs when Rafferty slowly drove past an elementary school earlier in the day and urged her to kidnap a little girl, saying it would be easy if she talked about “dogs or candy.”
As they made their way past Oliver Stephens Public School that day, Rafferty told McClintic to prove she wasn’t “all talk,” she said.
“I said do what, you just want me to grab somebody?” McClintic testified through deep breaths. “He said it would be easy. ’(They’re) getting out of school now. All you have to do is talk about dogs or candy or something like that.”’
He wanted a “young female, because the younger they were the easier they were to manipulate,” McClintic said.
Rafferty had said things in the past that had bothered her too, McClintic said Tuesday, but she ignored them because she so badly wanted to have finally found a good man.
“There’d be times that he would say things. We would be driving past schools and he would make a comment like, ’it would be so easy to do this,’ ” McClintic told the jury.
“He had made a comment once before when we were driving, saying, ’Would you think it was weird if I asked you if you think it was weird to kidnap somebody,” McClintic recalled.
On April 8, 2009, as school was letting out at Oliver Stephens, McClintic said Rafferty parked in a retirement home lot just down the street, and her plan was to pretend she went looking for a girl to kidnap but would come back empty-handed. But as he slowly drove past her, watching her, she decided she would find a child and walk beside them, but not go any further, she said.
Tori was supposed to walk home with her 10-year-old brother after he dropped off some younger children. McClintic started walking beside the girl and introduced herself as Terri-Lynne, but told the Grade 3 student she could call her “T.”
“My name’s Victoria, but everybody calls me Tori,” McClintic said the girl replied.
McClintic asked if Tori wanted to see a shih tzu, and having one herself, Tori said all right. As she walked back toward Rafferty’s car, Tori grabbed McClintic’s hand to cross the street, she said.
She pushed Tori in the car as Rafferty was yelling at her to hurry up, and with the girl lying on the back seat floor McClintic covered her with Rafferty’s black pea coat, she testified.
They drove out of town in Rafferty’s Honda Civic, with McClintic casually chatting with Tori, learning that the girl’s favourite colour was purple, that “Hannah Montana” was her favourite television show and that Halloween was her favourite holiday because she liked dressing up.
Rafferty turned on the radio to see if there were any news bulletins about a missing girl from Woodstock, but hearing none he stopped at a Tim Hortons in Guelph, Ont., leaving McClintic and Tori alone in the car, she said. After that he drove to a house in Guelph to buy percocets and he came out carrying a sandwich bag full of them, McClintic testified.
While Rafferty was out of the car Tori asked if she could go home, McClintic said.
“I said soon, that I would make sure she would get home, that I wasn’t going to let anything happen to her,” she said.
McClintic’s testimony about that day was to continue Tuesday afternoon, but the jury has already been told Tori’s remains were found three months later, naked from the waist down in garbage bags under a pile of rocks in a field near Mount Forest, Ont. She died from multiple blows to the head with a hammer, but she also had blunt injuries to her body that lacerated her liver and fractured her ribs — injuries that could have been fatal on their own, court has heard.
The two people at the centre of the trial met just months before Tori was abducted and killed, the jury heard. McClintic and Rafferty met at a pizza shop in February 2009, went for a drive and had sex in his car, McClintic testified.
“He was somebody I cared for,” McClintic said when asked about their relationship, which she said included sex on three more occasions — including once in a movie theatre — and buying OxyContin for Rafferty.
McClintic had several convictions for assaults before she met Rafferty and was wanted by police on a warrant for a parole violation, breach of custody and supervision.
“He liked to make himself like he was so much better,” McClintic told the jury.
Earlier Tuesday, McClintic told the jury that her life before she abducted Tori consisted of “getting high.”
Her birth mother gave her up to a fellow exotic “dancer,” she said and was shuffled around to various communities in southwestern and northern Ontario. There was always a lot of violence in her home, McClintic said, including when her mother’s husband dislocated 18-month-old Terri-Lynne’s shoulder.
She began smoking marijuana at eight years old, and spent her teen years abusing ecstasy and cocaine. She was finished with school after Grade 8. Her adoptive mother abused alcohol and drugs and McClintic was bullied because her mother was known as “crazy Carol,” court heard.
Injecting OxyContin and morphine became McClintic’s drugs of choice when she moved back to Woodstock at age 17, she said.
Last week court heard that before she snatched Tori, McClintic went to an employment centre, filling out various forms but citing anger issues and a Grade 9 education as impediments to finding a job.
McClintic woke up that morning, smoked some leftover marijuana she had, went to a church to get a food voucher, bought some groceries for her and her mother, went home and shot up some leftover OxyContin, she said. After that she went to her appointment at the employment centre then Rafferty showed up at her house unexpectedly, she said.
Documents show McClintic arrived at the employment centre at 2:19 p.m. She was seen on surveillance video leading Tori away from school at 3:32 p.m.