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Michael Rafferty Trial: Terri-Lynne McClintic Describes Gruesome Last Hours Of Tori Stafford

03/14/2012 06:54 EDT | Updated 03/14/2012 06:55 EDT
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LONDON, Ont. - Pent-up rage from childhood trauma caused an 18-year-old woman to smash eight-year-old Victoria Stafford's head with a hammer, killing the girl she had kidnapped and her boyfriend had just sexually assaulted, court heard Tuesday.

The drug-addicted young couple slowly drove past a Woodstock, Ont., elementary school on April 8, 2009, when Michael Rafferty urged Terri-Lynne McClintic to kidnap a young girl for him, McClintic testified at Rafferty's first-degree murder trial.

She snatched Tori, the only unaccompanied child outside the school, and they drove her 100 kilometres north to a rural area where Rafferty violently sexually assaulted the girl in the back seat of his car, McClintic said during her first day of testimony.

"I told her that I was sorry," McClintic said. "She told me, 'Just don't let him do it again.'"

Tori said she needed to use the washroom, so McClintic — who said she had wandered away from the car so she wouldn't have to see what was going on — walked back to the car to help her. When that happened she could see blood in the snow, McClintic said.

She told Tori she was a "very strong girl," then handed her back to Rafferty, she said.

"He picked her back up," McClintic testified. "She still had ahold of my hand. She didn't want to let go. She asked me to stay with her. So I got in the front seat and I tried to hold onto her hand, but I couldn't stay because I knew what was about to happen. I couldn't be there for that."

McClintic walked away again and could hear Tori's screams, she said. They prompted her to have flashbacks — to what she didn't say.

"I went back to the vehicle and I savagely murdered that little girl," McClintic testified.

McClintic pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in April 2010 and is serving a life sentence. Rafferty has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder, sexual assault causing bodily harm and kidnapping. Her first day of testimony saw the main and overflow courtrooms filled to capacity as people lined up for hours to hear McClintic's version of events.

Several of Tori's family members were there and wept as the testimony unfolded.

Rafferty urged her to kidnap a "young female, because the younger they were the easier they were to manipulate," McClintic recalled Rafferty as saying.

As they made their way past Oliver Stephens Public School that day, Rafferty told McClintic to prove she wasn't "all talk," she said.

"I said do what, you just want me to grab somebody?" McClintic testified through deep breaths, long pauses and tears. "He said it would be easy. '(They're) getting out of school now. All you have to do is talk about dogs or candy or something like that.'"

Rafferty had said things in the past that had bothered her too, McClintic said Tuesday, but she ignored them because she so badly wanted to have finally found a good man.

"There'd be times that he would say things. We would be driving past schools and he would make a comment like, 'it would be so easy to do this,' " McClintic told the jury.

"He had made a comment once before when we were driving, saying, 'Would you think it was weird if I asked you if you think it was weird to kidnap somebody?" McClintic recalled.

After waking up on April 8, 2009, McClintic smoked some leftover marijuana, went to a church to get a food voucher, bought some groceries, went home and shot up some leftover OxyContin, she said. After that she went to an appointment at the employment centre then Rafferty showed up at her house unexpectedly, she said.

Later as school was letting out, McClintic said Rafferty parked in a retirement home lot just down the street, and her plan was to pretend she went looking for a girl to kidnap but would come back empty-handed. But as he slowly drove past her, watching her, she decided she would find a child and walk beside them, but not go any further, she said.

Tori was supposed to walk home with her 10-year-old brother after he dropped off some younger children that day. McClintic started walking beside the girl and introduced herself as Terri-Lynne, but told the Grade 3 student she could call her "T."

"My name's Victoria, but everybody calls me Tori," McClintic said the girl replied.

McClintic asked if Tori wanted to see a shih tzu, and having one herself, Tori said all right. As she walked back toward Rafferty's car, Tori grabbed McClintic's hand to cross the street, she said.

She pushed Tori in the car as Rafferty was yelling at her to hurry up, and with the girl lying on the back seat floor McClintic covered her with Rafferty's black pea coat, she testified.

They drove out of town in Rafferty's Honda Civic, with McClintic casually chatting with Tori, learning that the girl's favourite colour was purple, that "Hannah Montana" was her favourite television show and that Halloween was her favourite holiday because she liked dressing up.

McClintic said she was unaware of Rafferty's plans that day, until they were out of Woodstock, driving east on Highway 401.

"The only thing that was said was, 'We can't just keep her and we can't take her back,'" McClintic quoted Rafferty as saying. He also told McClintic he was going to rape Tori, she said.

Rafferty turned on the radio to see if there were any news bulletins about a missing girl from Woodstock, but hearing none he stopped at a Tim Hortons in Guelph, Ont., leaving McClintic and Tori alone in the car, she said. After that he drove to a house in Guelph to buy percocets and he came out carrying a sandwich bag full of them, McClintic testified.

While Rafferty was out of the car Tori asked if she could go home, McClintic said.

"I said soon, that I would make sure she would get home, that I wasn't going to let anything happen to her," she said.

But the next stop they made was at a Home Depot in Guelph, where Rafferty gave her cash to go in and buy a claw hammer and some garbage bags, she testified. Tori asked her not to leave her alone with Rafferty, but McClintic promised she would be quick, she said.

They drove to a rural area, down a laneway and into a clearing, parking next to a rock pile in a field, McClintic said. Rafferty began to masturbate then he sexually assaulted Tori, McClintic said. She had walked away from the car but could see Tori on Rafferty's lap in the back seat of his car, she said, and both were naked from the waist down.

After he was finished Rafferty "tossed" Tori to the ground and that's when McClintic said she decided something had to be done.

"All I saw was myself when I was that age, and all the anger and hate and rage that I had and blame that I had built up towards myself came boiling up out of me," she said.

McClintic started kicking Tori, then either she or Rafferty placed a garbage bag over the girl's head and McClintic picked up the hammer and used both ends to strike Tori's head several times, she said. The girl, still wearing only her "Hannah Montana" T-shirt and nothing else, didn't move, but McClintic said she could hear a "gurgling noise."

The couple put Tori's body in several layers of garbage bags, placed it next to the rock pile under a tree and put some of the rocks on top of her, McClintic said. Rafferty, still wearing no pants, used water bottles from his car to wash the blood from his genital area, she testified. He used her jacket to wipe himself off because "he didn't want to ruin his shirt," she said.

They got back in the car and Rafferty asked a very shaky McClintic if she was all right. She grunted in response, she said.

"He said, 'Yeah, I'm all right too, considering.'"

Tori's remains were found 103 days later in the field near Mount Forest, Ont. She died from the multiple blows to the head with a hammer, but she also had blunt injuries to her body that lacerated her liver and fractured her ribs — injuries that could have been fatal on their own, court has heard.

McClintic's testimony is to continue Wednesday.

Earlier Tuesday, court heard McClintic and Rafferty met at a pizza shop in February 2009, went for a drive and had sex in his car.

"He was somebody I cared for," McClintic said when asked about their relationship, which she said included sex on three more occasions — including once in a movie theatre — and buying OxyContin for Rafferty.

McClintic had several convictions for assaults before she met Rafferty and was wanted by police on a warrant for a parole violation, breach of custody and supervision.

McClintic also told the jury that her life before she abducted Tori consisted of "getting high."

Her birth mother gave her up to a fellow exotic "dancer," she said and was shuffled around to various Ontario communities. She began smoking marijuana at eight years old, and spent her teen years abusing ecstasy and cocaine. She was finished with school after Grade 8.

Injecting OxyContin and morphine became McClintic's drugs of choice when she moved back to Woodstock at age 17, she said.

Last week court heard that before she snatched Tori, McClintic went to the employment centre, filling out various forms but citing anger issues and a Grade 9 education as impediments to finding a job. Documents show McClintic arrived at the employment centre at 2:19 p.m. She was seen on surveillance video leading Tori away from school at 3:32 p.m.

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