Daryn Stafford, Tori's older brother (text of written statement):
When I was asked to write my statement, I didn't know what to write. What is there to write when there are no words to describe the impact this whole thing has left on me.
Not everyone knows how it feels to have your world ripped out from under you in less than a day. No hugs, no 'see you later,' no goodbyes, just a part of my heart ripped out. Not one person can say they feel the same as me.
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.
On top of that loss, I have a dad who is also dealing with thoughts around this, a mom who is an addict because she doesn't know how to cope with her own emotions surrounding (this), and a totally fractured family.
I can't even talk to someone and know if they like me for who I am or because they feel bad that I'm Victoria Stafford's brother.
On top of that, I now have really strong anxiety problems. I can't walk by myself without watching behind me. I can't sleep because of nightmares and my fear of the dark, and I can't be alone.
The first question is, 'Have there been any changes to your family? How would you describe your family relationships?' To answer that in full honesty, my family is torn. My mom and dad cannot get along. They never have, but now they can't even for me. My dad's side of my family can't stand each other and the same with my mom's.
In the past three years, I have missed dozens of days of school because of counselling sessions and a psychiatrist. I can't concentrate most days because my mind is always somewhere else. I have to take walks and talk to my teachers because a lot of the time, I can't control my emotions. I don't even want to go out for sports teams because of my anxiety and my low self-esteem and confidence.
The booklet says, 'Was anything taken from you?' It's obviously asking about property, but something was taken from me. My baby sister was taken from me, and that's not something I can go buy at a store to replace.
My last memory I have of Tori was only a few minutes before she went missing. We were arguing like any brother and sister, but when school was done and we parted, I didn't know I would never get to see her again. And it was weird because it felt like something was wrong. I could feel it. Now I am lost without her, trying to move on without my baby sister and best friend.
Michael Rafferty (statement delivered in court):
I wanted to come to this courtroom defending myself and after hearing the victim impact statements I think there's something more important to say.
To Tara McDonald: for the past three years I've had so much to say on my behalf. Nobody has all the pieces of the puzzle and I'm willing to give you those pieces if you'd like them.
I know this has been a long ordeal for everybody and I'm glad that it's come to an end and hopefully everybody can find some closure of some sort to me being sentenced to life.
I'm truly sorry to the entire family, not that it has much bearing to any of you coming from my mouth, but it's still true.
I've stayed quiet this entire trial, thinking it was for my defence, thinking it was for the better. But I do have something to say and that is for Tara McDonald alone without the media, without spectators, so at least you know it will be true, or as true as you're willing to believe it without other people listening and without it being to my benefit.
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.
As I said, I would fill in the blanks for you if you wish, however that can be seen through the courts or the institution where I'll be staying.
To your son, I believe that impact statement hit me the hardest. I can only imagine if something like that came from the words, or came from the mouth of my own son. I have lost a child before but I have no idea what you have gone through. I cannot imagine what you have gone through, for that I'm very sorry.
As I said I am standing behind not guilty of these convictions. Notwithstanding, though, I do believe that I am a very definite part of why Victoria's not here today. Once again I'm very sorry, not that half of you, or any of you may believe me, but as I said I've stayed quiet thinking that that was to my defence, not thinking of how it may impact the family of Victoria Stafford. That's all I have to say.
Superior Court Judge Thomas Heeney, who presided over the case (statement delivered in court):
Mr. Rafferty was not convicted based on his character, he was convicted based on his conduct. Character evidence is presumptively inadmissible under our law for a reason. Character evidence speaks volumes about his deviant nature, but that is more relevant to who he is, as opposed to what he did. Being a pervert does not mean that he is a murderer. (...)
But with the verdict of the jury, that presumption of innocence has been stripped away, revealing who he really is: a child abductor; a child rapist; and a child murderer.
Mr. Rafferty, please stand up.
Your crimes have destroyed the lives of Victoria Stafford's parents, her brother, her extended family and her loved ones. They have terrorized an entire community, who had thought its children could safely walk its streets, little knowing that people such as you lurked among them. That you were brought to justice is due entirely to the most massive and extraordinary mobilization of police resources that this province, and probably this country, has ever seen. (...)
But most tragically of all, 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."Suggest a correction