Toronto Star

October 19, 1999

Widow endures a grim day in court

Police officer says partner's last words were `I'm stabbed'

By Donovan Vincent
Toronto Star Staff Reporter

The widow of Detective Constable William Hancox sat in court yesterday, listening to testimony about her husband's final words - ``I'm stabbed'' - and his partner's desperate bid to save him.

Kim Hancox saw a security videotape showing his last recorded movements - the purchase of some pop and a Snickers bar from a Becker's store in the plaza about 10 minutes before he was killed.

She also saw disturbing photographs depicting large pools of blood beside his van, a gruesome marking of the spot where he fell.

But court Exhibit No. 12, the 12-inch ``Laser Stainless'' butcher knife that was used to stab him in the chest, proved too much for her. Toward the end of the day's testimony, she got up abruptly and was escorted out of the courtroom in tears.

She had never seen the weapon, in court or elsewhere. It was encased in a plastic tube, and shown yesterday to the 12 jurors, bloody blade and all.

The knife, court was told, was found by police officers near the officer's left leg as he lay on his back beside his van the night of Aug. 4, 1998.

The stabbing occurred in the parking lot of a Scarborough plaza at Ellesmere Rd. and Neilson Ave. during an undercover surveillance detail, the trial was told.

The evidence marked a dramatic second day in the trial of Elaine Rose Cece, 41, and Mary Barbara Taylor, 31, lovers who have pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder in connection with Hancox's death.

Most of the day was spent hearing testimony from Hancox's colleagues who worked with him on the break-and-enter section of the special investigations services - Detectives Geoff Hesse and Steve Pattison - the two officers who were with Hancox that evening, and the first ones to arrive after he was attacked.

Pattison, Hancox and Hesse were parked at individual locations that night, staking out a break-and-enter suspect who lived near Centenary Plaza at Neilson and Ellesmere.

Their goal was to lawfully steal the suspect's car and put a tracking device on it.

The trial has been told that around 10 p.m. Pattison heard a strange gurgling static noise on his police radio.

Pattison, who at times choked back tears and had members of Hancox's family in tears, said he was worried one of his partners was in trouble, so he drove his vehicle from where he was stationed, west of the plaza, and drove south on Neilson.

As he drove past Hancox's unmarked blue Voyager van, which was parked facing west in the plaza lot, he saw Hancox standing outside the vehicle. Pattison said he thought Hancox was okay at first.

Then, Pattison said, he heard, simultaneously from outside his window, and on his police radio, Hancox say, ``I'm stabbed.''

``I did a U-turn. I pulled in front of Bill's van and saw Bill fall backward on his back,'' Pattison, an 18-year veteran with Toronto police, said, pausing numerous times to compose himself on the stand.

When he found Hancox, whose head was propped up against the rear wheel of the driver's side of his van, Pattison said he saw blood everywhere, all over the front of Hancox's shirt, and around him.

Hancox's eyes were closed.

``I said: Hang on. I felt his pulse weakening,'' Pattison told Crown Attorney John McMahon.

Pattison said he began CPR, by positioning Hancox's head and trying to blow into his mouth. But Hancox's lungs were filling with blood, and blood splashed back on to Pattison, so he started chest compressions.

Another officer took over shortly afterward.

Hancox was pronounced dead in Sunnybrook hospital at 11:02 p.m., the trial has been told.

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