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Tori Stafford trial

McClintic denies she acted alone in Tori’s murder

Randy Richmond, QMI Agency

Related Attachment(s)

LONDON, ONT. - 

Terry-Lynne McClintic's defence for putting a puppy in a microwave oven and blaming its death on others is similar to the defence she gave for her role in the abduction and murder of Victoria (Tori) Stafford.

"I was a child," she testified. "I didn't know what I was doing."

McClintic, 21, was on the witness stand all week at the trial of her ex-boyfriend, Michael Rafferty. McClintic pleaded guilty in 2010 to first-degree murder and is serving a life sentence for Tori's brutal death. Rafferty, 31, has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder, kidnapping and sexual assault causing bodily harm.

Rafferty's defence lawyer, Dirk Derstine, wrapped up two days of cross-examination of McClintic, during which he used her violent nature and inconsistent statements over the past two years to pick apart her contention that Rafferty directed Tori's abduction and raped her.

Derstine presented an alternative villain and scenario for the jury.

"The abduction was your idea," he suggested to McClintic. "You went and lured this girl. You brought her in the car, all friendly, that Michael thought nothing of it. Later on you told him that the girl was in the car for a drug debt. Still later . . . you offered her to Michael, sexually. When it became clear that he didn't want your gift, you directed him to a rural location on a pretext. . . You said that she could be taken to a safe house. Once you got to that lane you told him to walk away because you wanted to talk to the little girl because she was scared of him. You . . . threw her down and killed her. Mr Rafferty came back after the death, was horrified, but helped you clean up."

McClintic rejected each suggestion, one by one, and was most firm at the idea Tori was offered as a sexual gift.

"I very much disagree with you," she said, crying.

Tori was abducted while walking home from school in Woodstock, Ont., on April 8, 2009. A camera from a nearby high school caught a woman walking her up the street, and McClintic confessed May 19, 2009, to being that woman. Her boyfriend at the time, Michael Rafferty, was also arrested.

McClintic told police she and Rafferty had driven on April 8 from Woodstock to Guelph, where he directed her to buy a hammer and garbage bags from a Home Depot. They drove to a remote spot near Mount Forest, where Rafferty raped Tori, kicked her, and killed her by striking her in the head with the hammer. The pair then put the body in garbage bags and tossed it near a pile of rocks, McClintic told police.

For nine days following her confession, jurors heard Friday, McClintic drove with police to help find Tori's body. Despite her help, the body wasn't discovered until July 19, 2009.

McClintic, meanwhile, changed her story to police Jan. 14, 2012, and testified in court she was the one who struck the fatal hammer blows that killed Tori.

For two days, Derstine pushed McClintic to admit she was "the driving force" behind the abduction and killing.

Then Crown attorney Michael Carnegie picked up the case again. He introduced an audiotape of a May 15, 2009, police interview of Rafferty at his Woodstock home.

On the audiotape, Rafferty laughs when asked if he recognizes anyone in the surveillance video that showed McClintic leading Tori away.

"No, I don't recognize anyone, no."

He says he and McClintic aren't in an intimate relationship and he doesn't know her last name. He says all he knows about Tori's disappearance is what he's seen on the news and heard from others.

randy.richmond@sunmedia.ca