Tara McDonald

Tara McDonald

Mom met daughter’s killer

The mother of Victoria Stafford says she had met the woman convicted of first-degree murder in her daughter’s death twice before. Tara McDonald told a London, Ont., jury today that she and her boyfriend bought OxyContin illegally from Terri-Lynne McClintic’s mother.

LONDON, Ont. — The mother of Victoria Stafford says she had met the woman convicted of first-degree murder in her daughter’s death twice before.

Tara McDonald told a London, Ont., jury today that she and her boyfriend bought OxyContin illegally from Terri-Lynne McClintic’s mother.

McDonald says she had gone to the house twice and saw McClintic once in passing, and a second time when the then 18-year-old woman seemed “under the influence” and likely didn’t notice she was there.

The testimony comes at the trial of Michael Rafferty — McClintic’s boyfriend when Tori disappeared — who has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder, among other charges, in the death of eight-year-old Tori.

McClintic pleaded guilty in April 2010 to first-degree murder in Tori’s death.

McDonald told court that she and McClintic’s mother had discussed breeding their shih tzus but that McClintic had never met Tori.

McDonald said at the time Tori went missing she was addicted to OxyContin and had taken 80 milligrams that early afternoon but has now been off both OxyContin and methadone for six months.

Earlier Wednesday the jury got a sense of the massive scale of the effort to find the Grade 3 student and solve her murder.

From the time Tori went missing outside her Woodstock, Ont., elementary school in April 2009 to the current trial the investigation has involved more than 900 police officers and thousands of pieces of evidence, court heard.

Ontario Provincial Police Const. Gary Scoyne testified he was responsible for in excess of 1,100 physical exhibits and more than 4,500 photographs.

Scoyne, who has been a forensic identification officer for 23 years and was the lead identification officer on Tori’s case, said he has never seen a larger investigation — calling the case “unusual.”

“I have worked on major cases before, but this is, the volume of this was enormous and the amount of personnel was too,” he said.

Scoyne, who court heard will be testifying about pieces of evidence at various points through the trial, expected to last 2 1/2 months, said in his career he has been to about 3,800 crime scenes. Eighty-four specific exhibits were forwarded to the Centre of Forensic Sciences for further investigation in the Stafford case, which is an “unusually large” amount, he added.

Rafferty, 31, has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder, sexual assault causing bodily harm and kidnapping in Tori’s death.

Tori went missing on April 8, 2009, outside her school and though her remains weren’t found for three months, the Crown alleges the girl was killed the same day.

Scoyne showed the court dozens of photographs Wednesday of areas of note in and around Woodstock. Tori’s school is just down the road from a high school, whose surveillance cameras captured McClintic leading Tori away. Across the street from the high school is a retirement home where the Crown alleges Rafferty was waiting in his car in which they abducted Tori.

Tori’s mother’s house, where she was supposed to walk after school that day, is just a few blocks northwest of the school. McClintic’s house is a few blocks north of there.