Court hears from Rafferty's ex-girlfriend

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LONDON, Ont.

About an hour after Victoria (Tori) Stafford went missing in Woodstock, Michael Rafferty showed up at a friend’s house in Guelph to buy drugs, his usual chatty self, a jury heard Tuesday.

A few days later, he turned up again, this time showing signs of stress, that friend testified at Rafferty’s first-degree murder trial.

"He was looking kind of haggard, he had a cold sore," Barbara Armstrong said. "He gets cold sores when he’s super stressed. He said that he hadn’t been eating, he hadn’t been sleeping, he was so stressed out . . . so many things going on in his life."

Rafferty told her he planned to go looking for the missing eight-year-old Tori, the daughter of a friend’s friend, the next weekend, Armstrong said.

In following visits, Rafferty told her he recognized the woman who appeared in a surveillance video leading Tori away after school April 8, 2009, and a car in the video, too.

"He said that they (police) were trying to get her to confess about taking the little girl."

The last time Armstrong tried to reach him was May 15 or 17, but he didn’t reply to her text, Armstrong said.

A few days later, she heard Rafferty had been arrested for Tori’s murder.

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

McClintic, 21, has already pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and testified last week in Rafferty’s trial she plucked Tori off the street after school under her ex-boyfriend’s direction.

Armstrong testified Tuesday she dated Rafferty for a few months one winter after they met while working at the Better Beef meat processing plant in Guelph.

They remained friends and "confidants" after the breakup and after he was laid off. At some point, Rafferty began buying Percoset painkillers from her, Armstrong testified.

"I could pretty much tell him anything. It was like girl talk," she said.

According to bank receipts presented Tuesday, Rafferty took out $400 from a BMO branch in Woodstock about 11:10 a.m. April 8, 2009.

During that same morning, he texted her to arrange a drug buy, Armstrong testified.

Tori was last seen in a surveillance video about 3:22 p.m. the same day walking up the street outside her Woodstock school with McClintic.

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