Toronto Star

October 22, 1999

Accused suicidal before officer slain

Woman had sought help, trial told

By Donovan Vincent
Toronto Star Staff Reporter

Hours before she is alleged to have killed a police officer, Elaine Rose Cece was doing charitable work unloading goods for a Toronto food bank, a court has been told.

The second-degree murder trial of Cece and her lover Mary Barbara Taylor previously heard that at the end of that day, Aug. 4, 1998, Cece confessed to Taylor's immediate family about stabbing a man in a Scarborough parking lot, a man the two women later learned was Detective Constable William Hancox, 32, an undercover officer.

Between those two events that day, Cece confided to a counsellor that she was addicted to crack cocaine, sold personal belongings to support her habit and handed over a pocket knife to the counsellor she had intended to use to commit suicide, the trial was told.

For the first time, jurors heard from witnesses who spoke to the accused women before Hancox was stabbed around 10 p.m. in a plaza's parking lot at Neilson Ave. and Ellesmere Rd.

Liz Jocko, a former family counsellor with Council Fire, an Indian cultural centre in Toronto, testified she first saw Cece, whom she didn't know, around 11 a.m. that day with volunteers unloading a van for the centre's food bank.

Shortly afterward, social worker Mike Eshkibok told Jocko there was a woman in her office who needed counselling and was suicidal. It was Cece.

After being introduced, Cece shared her past, talked about her drug problem, saying she felt she wasn't getting the help she needed, Jocko testified. Cece told Jocko she used crack earlier that morning

``She said she felt lost,'' Jocko said in court.

Jocko later added: ``I just let her talk. She was emotional. She was crying . . . she was nervous, wringing her hands.''

Later, Taylor joined the counselling session and comforted Cece. Then the pair produced pocket knives.

``They said they were going to use the knives to hurt themselves,'' said Jocko.

She added that the women said they changed their minds earlier about doing such a thing.

Jocko said she took the knives away from them, and ``smudged'' Cece.

She burned sage and used an eagle feather to brush the smoke on Cece.

Smudging is an Indian ceremony aimed a purifying an individual while purging negative feelings, Jocko explained.

`I just let her talk. She was emotional. She was crying . . . she was nervous, wringing her hands.'
- Liz Jocko
Former counsellor at Council Fire

Jocko said Cece was sobbing heavily during and after the ceremony.

The counsellor later asked the women if they wanted to go to hospital.

Taylor said she had been treated before at Centenary Hospital in Scarborough, so they should go there.

Jocko agreed, but warned they might be separated into different rooms, she testified.

The two women were driven in one of the centre's vans to the hospital. The next day, Cece called Jocko to say the two left the hospital after Taylor ``put up a fuss'' because the lovers were going to be separated.

The trial also heard yesterday that prints matching Cece's left hand were found on the driver's side window of Hancox's van.

A fingerprint on an empty knife package in a Dominion store in the plaza matched Taylor's, the trial heard.

The trial continues.

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