Toronto Star

Feb. 3, 12:05 EDT

Woman gets life for '95 killing

Killaloe wife used antifreeze to poison ex-husband

The Toronto Star

OTTAWA (CP) - A housewife and one-time stripper who poisoned her estranged husband with a lethal cocktail of wine and antifreeze has been sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years.

Cherrylle Dell, 46, of Killaloe, south of Pembroke, was convicted yesterday of first-degree murder for duping Scott Dell, 44, into drinking more than a half litre of wine mixed with antifreeze in December, 1995.

Five years after police ruled Scott Dell's death a suicide, the man's family embraced and cried as Ontario Superior Court Justice James Chadwick concluded he was actually murdered by his estranged wife.

Reading excerpts from his 86-page decision, Chadwick said he was satisfied Dell had ``sufficient motive to kill Scott Dell.'' He described her as desperate to regain custody of the couple's three children after a bitter split in which she left her husband for a woman.

``Cherrylle Dell had virtually lost custody of her children, although a few options were open to her,'' wrote Chadwick.

``After that she had to co-operate with Scott Dell in order to improve the access. The only way Cherrylle could regain sole custody of her children was to get rid of Scott.''

During the trial, Crown Attorney Peter Barnes portrayed Dell as holding such sway over her husband that she was able to persuade him to drink himself to death with what he thought was homemade wine.

On the last night of her husband's life, Dell spoke with him for hours on the telephone so he would not seek medical attention for the effects of the poison, Barnes argued.

Dell ``had an ulterior motive,'' Barnes said. ``To keep him talking . . . stop him from phoning the hospital.''

Police only reopened the case after a jilted lover told police Dell plotted to kill the man with a poisoned bottle of Piat D'Or.

Several months before her husband died, Dell spoke of wanting him dead and even mentioned hiring a hitman, Barnes said.

Her cat died of antifreeze poisoning in the fall of 1995 and she subsequently asked how much antifreeze would be needed to kill a human, he said.

The defence had argued that Scott Dell was a lovesick, beaten-down man who killed himself, and that crown witnesses who spoke of Cherrylle Dell's confessions and hatred for her husband were unreliable.

As Dell was escorted from the courtroom yesterday, she turned to her mother and mouthed the words, ``I love you.''

Dell's lawyer Bob Selkirk said she is ``very upset'' and ``wants to know what steps are open to her.''

Dell faces a second charge of first-degree murder in connection with an August, 1997, fire that killed ex-lover Nancy Fillmore. A preliminary hearing is to begin in two weeks.

Brent Crawford, 19, is also charged with first-degree murder in Fillmore's death.

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