Toronto Star

October 15, 1999

Co-accused urged lover to stab officer, crown says

Women had planned to steal detective's vehicle, court told

By Donovan Vincent
Toronto Star Staff Reporter

Detective Constable William Hancox was fatally stabbed in the chest after Mary Barbara Taylor urged lover Elaine Rose Cece to use a 12-inch butcher knife to steal his van, the opening day of a second-degree murder trial has been told.

In a highly charged courtroom packed with Toronto police officers, the much-anticipated trial got under way with Crown Attorney John McMahon telling the jurors they will hear evidence that Taylor, 31, called Cece, 41, a ``pussy'' and said things like ``f--- it, use the knife'' and ``if you love me, you'll do it'' to encourage her.

``I intend to call evidence at this trial, that will establish beyond a reasonable doubt that Miss Cece, assisted by Miss Taylor, plunged a 12-inch knife into the chest of Officer Hancox,'' McMahon told the jurors.

He said they will hear that Taylor urged Cece on as the two stood at the rear of Hancox's unmarked blue Voyageur van, while he sat inside during an undercover surveillance detail last year.

The two women - both suicidal at the time and living on the street - had plotted to steal a van to get out of town, McMahon said. The two walked up to Hancox, engaged him in conversation and asked him if he wanted to go for a walk.

Before shooing them away, Hancox told them he was married, had a child and that his wife was pregnant. McMahon said neither of the women knew Hancox was a police officer.

McMahon said that the evidence will show that Cece walked up to the driver's side of the van - after Taylor gave her their last piece of crack cocaine to give her courage - pretended to scratch her back, then reached through the open window to plunge the knife into the officer.

The prosecutor also advised the jurors that what he was telling them is not evidence. The only evidence they will hear will come from witnesses in the trial, he said.

Hancox was pronounced dead in hospital at 11:02 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 4, 1998, about an hour after he was stabbed in the parking lot at Ellesmere Rd. and Neilson Ave. in Scarborough, the jurors were told.

The officer bled to death after uttering the words ``I'm stabbed'' over his police radio. His fully loaded Glock pistol was still in his unzipped ``tummy pouch.''

He was stabbed just above the left nipple, but didn't die instantly, the jurors were told. McMahon said a pathologist will explain to them that the knife cut through his left lung, severing branches of his pulmonary artery and vein, which carry blood to and from the heart. His lungs filled with blood and his airways became blocked, McMahon said.

A bloody knife was later recovered by police. It had been stolen that day from the plaza where Hancox was slain, McMahon told jurors.

With Hancox's widow Kim looking on, McMahon outlined some of the most disturbing allegations the jury will hear:

  • After he was stabbed, Hancox fell over on the passenger seat of the van, but managed to sit up again, pull out the knife and look at his attackers.

  • Hours after the slaying, Taylor went to a residence on Carlaw Ave., where her mother, Gwen Herreman, was staying, and told her Cece had stabbed a man, but if they had come upon a woman first and couldn't get her out of her car, they would have simply driven off with the woman in her car and her body would have been found later in a ditch.

  • Taylor or Cece told nurses in Centenary Hospital's crisis unit: ``You f---ing bitches. You'll read about us on the front page of the newspapers tomorrow.'' McMahon said the words were uttered about 3 1/2 hours before the stabbing, and after the hospital refused to admit the lovers together.

  • When Taylor's brother, Dan Herreman, told her and Cece to turn themselves in, Taylor said: ``We're not going to do (a life sentence).''

    Taylor's two brothers gave information to the homicide squad. The two women were arrested Aug. 6.

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