POLITICS

Family speaks of pain, judge calls Rafferty a monster at sentencing

05/15/2012 03:03 EDT | Updated 07/15/2012 05:12 EDT
LONDON, Ont. - Quotes from the sentencing hearing Tuesday for Michael Rafferty, convicted of first degree murder, sexual assault causing bodily harm and kidnapping in the death of eight-year-old Victoria Stafford:

“You have snuffed out the life of a beautiful, talented, vivacious little girl, a 'tomboy diva' in the trustful innocence of childhood. And for what? So that you could gratify your twisted and deviant desire to have sex with a child. Only a monster could commit an act of such pure evil. You, sir, are a monster." _ Superior Court Judge Thomas Heeney as he sentenced Rafferty to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years.

"I still disagree with the conviction of these three charges. I am guilty of many crimes and there are a lot of things I'm very, very ashamed of, but these three counts I still stand firmly behind not guilty." _ Michael Rafferty

"The pain of missing my baby — no amount of time or tears will ever bring her back to me. People say how strong I am. They wonder how I've made it through what they think they couldn't. But what choice do I really have? It pales in comparison to the pain that was inflicted on an innocent little girl." _ Tara McDonald, Tori's mother.

"Now our only means of communicating with Victoria is tearful whispers through her headstone where her remains were laid to rest. You could not imagine the painful sorrow you feel standing at your eight-year-old child's gravesite in order to say hi instead of just being able to hold her in your arms and hold her tight." _ Rodney Stafford, Tori's father.

"My sister was the only person I had to talk to, someone that felt what I felt, cried when I cried, laughed when I laughed, and now I feel alone, like the world is playing a sick trick on me. But it's not, this is my reality. No more fun times, just old memories, no more 'I love yous,' just an empty spot in my heart." _ Daryn Stafford, Tori's older brother.

"Our beautiful, blond-haired, blue-eyed, bubbly little eight-year-old girl should never have died in the manner she did — scared, terrified and alone from all who love her. I miss her charm. I miss her wit. I've learned to make every day count and never miss the opportunity to tell someone you love them. I am grateful those were the last words we spoke to each other just before Palm Sunday in April 2009." _ Doreen Graichen, Tori's paternal grandmother.

"Our lives have changed. We have had to be strong for one another, even when we weren't feeling strong, throughout this ordeal. Until now, we didn't know how long this would go on, but our time is done. Your time is just beginning." _ Rob Stafford, Tori's uncle.

"I have sat quietly in a courtroom for weeks, unable to stay calm, but forced to stay composed. I have been exposed to information and photographs which have now altered my lasting memories of my niece. Instead of her beautiful blue eyes and her smile, her laugh, the first image I see when I hear her name is a forensics photograph." _ Rebecca Nichols, Tori's aunt.

"In memory and love of Victoria Elizabeth Marie hold all your loved ones close always." _ Linda Winters, Tori's maternal grandmother.

"The last time I saw Victoria she was standing in the doorway to my mother's dining room. She was leaning against the door frame quietly...Tori giggled and came to me to wrap her little arms around my pregnant belly. Her excitement about her unborn baby cousin was obvious. Her plan was to be the 'favourite cousin.'" _ Randi Millen, Tori's aunt.