Toronto Star

October 21, 1999

Daughter confessed to officer's slaying

Lover goaded into knifing constable, trial told

By Donovan Vincent
Toronto Star Staff Reporter

``F--- it, use the knife.''

Gwen Herreman says her daughter Mary Barbara Taylor said those words to her lover, Elaine Rose Cece, just before a knife was plunged into the chest of Detective Constable William Hancox.

Herreman, the crown's key witness so far, told the second-degree murder trial in Toronto yesterday that her daughter also told Cece: ``If you love me you'll do it,'' and called her a ``pussy'' (coward) moments before the Aug. 4, 1998 stabbing.

In a bid to steal a vehicle, Cece walked up to Hancox who was seated in his unmarked van, pretended to scratch her back and, grabbing a 30-centimetre knife concealed in the back of her shorts, stabbed him in the chest using her right hand, Herreman said her daughter told her.

Taylor and Cece didn't know that Hancox, 32, on undercover surveillance duty in a Scarborough plaza, was a police officer, the trial has heard. They found out later on the news.

Herreman testified her daughter and Cece confessed to the stabbing hours after the incident in the bathroom of a house where Herreman was staying.

Taylor's lawyer, David O'Connor, tried to paint Herreman as an unreliable witness, suggesting her own daughter called her a ``pill-popping addict.'' Herreman agreed she has in the past obtained pills on the street.

O'Connor told Herreman she has no parenting skills and lost custody of her granddaughter, Taylor's 11-year-old girl, because of her drug problem, after the Children's Aid Society alleged Herreman was physically abusing the child.

``I don't believe so,'' she responded.

O'Connor asked Herreman if she hit the youngster on the arms, legs, hands and butt.

``Not too often,'' she replied.

O'Connor also accused Herreman of hating Taylor.

``No I don't,'' was her angry response. The trial has heard that Herreman hasn't spoken to or written her daughter since Taylor's arrest last year.

From age 4, Taylor was raised by Herreman's parents. Herreman said she ``couldn't handle'' her daughter.

Herreman denied O'Connor's suggestion that she was trying to get even with her daughter by testifying, since Taylor played a role in Herreman losing custody of her granddaughter.

It was the second day a member of Taylor's immediate family testified against her. On Tuesday, Dan Herreman, her half-brother, told court he was at home when Taylor and Cece confessed to the stabbing. Court heard he got $1,000 from Crime Stoppers for giving police information.

On the evening in question, Gwen Herreman was living with her son and her boyfriend in a house on Carlaw Ave.

When Cece and Taylor showed up at the home, Herreman was watching television, around midnight, she testified.

She said when the two women walked in, Taylor said: ``Mom can I speak to you privately?''

They went into the bathroom and Taylor told her what happened, Herreman testified.

``It seemed far-fetched. I didn't think she had it in her,'' said Herreman, referring to her daughter.

She said she tried to get her daughter and Cece to turn themselves in.

The trial continues.

Contents copyright © 1996-1999, The Toronto Star.