Two men prosecuted for the 1989 rape and slaying of Tapleytown elementary teacher Beverley Perrin are suing Hamilton police for more than $10 million.
Christopher McCullough and his mother Rosslyn have launched a $7.7-million lawsuit. Nicholas Nossey and his parents are suing for $2.9 million.
The lawsuits, before Superior Court Justice James Ramsay, began Thursday and allege Hamilton police should be found liable for negligence, false arrest, malicious prosecution and breach of the charter.
Perrin’s body was discovered Feb. 15, 1989, near Green Mountain and Tapleytown roads in Stoney Creek. She had been raped and strangled. Her vehicle was found in an underground parking lot of an apartment building at 11 Grandville Ave.
Perrin was a mother of five children, a well-liked and respected public school teacher who had taught 23 years.
On the night of her demise — Feb. 13, 1989 — Perrin was heading home from hospital after visiting her husband, Eugene, who was dying of cancer. Perrin dropped her daughter off at night school, and then at 6:30 p.m. drove to the A&P on Barton Street East at Centennial Parkway. Carrying her groceries, Perrin walked across the parking lot and disappeared.
Two days later, her frozen body was found by a man and his son in a farm field in upper Stoney Creek.
The day after that, her 1986 Mercury Marquis, jacked up and missing its back tires, was discovered in the parking garage, just blocks from where she was last seen.
Nossey, who was 20 at the time, was arrested with three other men on June 20, 1990, and charged with first-degree murder. He spent 19 months in custody before he was acquitted in December 1991.
McCullough was arrested May 24, 1990, and charged with first-degree murder. In December 1991, McCullough was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison without parole eligibility for 18 years. He was 22 at the time.
The Ontario Court of Appeal overturned the conviction Jan. 16, 2000, and a new trial was ordered. On June 16, 2000, Hamilton-Wentworth Regional Police announced the case was closed and would not proceed with a new trial. McCullough, who had been in custody since May 1990, was released in February 1999.
During his time in prison McCullough was charged and convicted of counselling to commit murder and was sentenced to eight years concurrent to his initial sentence.
There were two other co-accused in the murder case. Steven Clarke would plead guilty to forcible confinement and being an accessory to murder after the fact and sentenced to four years in jail. Terry Pearce pled guilty to manslaughter in 1992 and received a seven-year sentence.
Neil Jones, representing Nossey, summed up the prosecution of McCullough and Nossey this way: “They were charged entirely on the basis of three witnesses, Steven Clarke, Terry Pearce and Tammy Waltham,” Jones said.
Named as defendants in one or both suits are the Regional Municipality of Hamilton-Wentworth, the Hamilton-Wentworth Regional Police Services Board, former police chiefs Colin Millar, Robert Middaugh and Ken Robertson and investigators Steve Hrab, Gary Clue, Michael Hamner and Bruce Graham.
Allegations in the statement of claim have yet to be proven in court.
Nossey, who now lives in Orillia, said all of the initial co-accused knew each other casually from hanging out at Eastgate Square.
Nossey was asked to provide his reaction when police arrested him.
“I forget the right words but I said ‘That’s crazy, I had nothing to do with that crime,'” Nossey told court.
The trial continues Friday.
Source: The Hamilton Spectator