LONDON, Ont. – Lillian Metcalfe liked to go for walks in the evening and pick up the litter along the side of her rural road.
“I can’t stand to walk the road and see it there all the time,” she said.
On one spring evening in 2009, cold enough for frost but with light still in the sky, she found two things that stood out among the usual fast-food wrappers and beer bottles along Sideroad 6 off Hwy. 6 north of Guelph, Ont.
By a lilac bush she saw one single shoe and a pair of running shoes, “not what you would typically find discarded.”
The married mother of two teenagers threw out and recycled the litter, then left the shoes in her garage for a week.
“I wasn’t sure what to do with them.”
The single shoe wasn’t good for anything so she threw it out. But the runners looked in “decent shape,” so Metcalfe soaked them in soap and warm water to get them ready to take to Goodwill.
Metcalfe’s ordinary walks, unusual find and desire to help the needy led police to a piece of evidence in the first-degree murder trial of Michael Rafferty, a jury heard Wednesdsay.
Jurors earlier heard testimony from Rafferty’s ex-girlfriend, Terri-Lynne McClintic, that she threw her running shoes out the car window after the killing and sexual assault of eight-year-old Victoria (Tori) Stafford on April 8, 2009.
McClintic had identified the blue and white, hightop Shaq running shoes found at the side of Sideroad 6 as her shoes, noting the unusual way she liked to tie her laces and place them under the tongue to slip her feet in and out easily.
Rafferty, 31, has pleaded not guilty of first-degree murder, kidnapping and sexual assault causing bodily harm in Tori’s death.
The 8-year-old Woodstock girl disappeared while walking home from school April 8, 2009. Her body was found three months later in a remote area near Mount, Forest, north of Guelph.
Jurors have heard testimony that McClintic lured Tori to Rafferty’s car that he then drove to the country lane where Tori was raped then killed with a hammer.
McClintic, 21, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison in April 2010.
On May 30, 2009, Metcalfe noticed police on her road and spoke to an officer. She’d heard police investigating Tori’s death were looking for the backseat of a car, but the officer told her they weren’t looking for that.
As she started to walk away, the officer asked her about seeing any garbage along the road and Metcalfe mentioned the running shoes.
When the officer asked her for a description, Metcalfe testified she replied: “I can do better than that.”
The shoes were sent to the Centre of Forensic Sciences for examination and photos were sent to the officer analysing video surveillance tapes, lead identification Const. Gary Scoyne told the jury Wednesday.
Jurors have Thursday off and the trial resumes Friday when the Crown begins exploring the scene of Tori’s death.
The exploration of the scene is to include autopsy reports and the jurors will visit the spot where Tori’s body was found.