Toronto serial killer Bruce McArthur pleads guilty to eight murders

Friday, February 1, 2019

Bruce McArthur, from Toronto, Canada, on Tuesday admitted his guilt in eight murders. McArthur pleaded guilty to each crime at the Superior Court.

File photo of a street scene in Toronto's Gay Village
Image: linux99 via Panaramio.

Beginning in 2010 and continuing for seven years, McArthur murdered gay men; all but one victim was found dismembered in large planters at a house he had access to. The eighth was discovered in a nearby ravine. McArthur's first victim of the eight was 40-year-old Skandaraj Navaratnam, a former boyfriend and employee of McArthur. The 67-year-old killer had kept a bracelet of Navaratnam's.

Other items kept from victims include a notebook from one victim and further jewellery from another. A search of McArthur's van found an alleged murder weapon, which was not publicly identified; inside McArthur's home was a bag with syringes, a glove, duct tape, zip ties, and a bungee cord. Six of the murders were, according to agreed facts heard in court, "sexual in nature" and five of those involved ligatures.

Several of the deceased had links to an area of the city known as the Gay Village. Many were vulnerable, but the final victim, LGBT activist Andrew Kinsman, 49, was quickly reported missing. It is now known McArthur was twice interviewed by police during the killings before he was linked to them.

McArthur travelled selling socks and other undergarments. He also ran a small landscaping business.

Sentencing is scheduled for February 4. McArthur faces a mandatory life sentence with a minimum term of 25 years for first-degree murder; the prosecution can seek to run these consecutively.

Toronto Police, which indicated on Monday a "significant development" was likely at Tuesday's hearing, face allegations they failed to react quickly enough to the series of disappearances. Some members of the local LGBT community have been critical; mayor John Tory on Tuesday suggested a broader probe into the surrounding circumstances may be required. National LGBT news source Daily Xtra‍'s editorial director, Rachel Giese, said she felt Tuesday's pleas might provide "some solace for the families and friends of the victims, and for the community more broadly," but would not answer questions being asked of authorities.