Woman gets life for axe murder of boyfriend

A Toronto  jury has found a woman guilty of first degree murder for counselling her female lover to kill her then-boyfriend.

Nicola Puddicombe, 36, was found guilty Thursday night and has been sentenced to life in prison for the murder of her boyfriend, Dennis Hoy.

The murder revolved around a love triangle gone sour; the Crown maintained that Puddicombe and her former lover, Ashleigh Pechaluk, allegedly formed a plan to kill Hoy.

Superior Court Justice Mary Lou Benotto charged the jury Tuesday afternoon; they finally came back with their verdict Thursday evening.

Both the Crown and defence assert that it was Pechaluk, not Puddicombe, who inflicted the fatal wounds on Hoy, but Justice Benotto reminded the jury that a person need not to have wielded the murder weapon to be guilty of murder.

Justice Benotto said that for Puddicombe to be found  guilty of murder in the first degree, the Crown must have proved beyond reasonable doubt that Puddicombe meant to have Pechaluk kill Hoy.

After days of deliberation the  jury found Puddicombe guilty,  accepting the Crown’s contention that she aided, abetted and counselled Pechaluk to kill Hoy.

Following the verdict, Justice Benotto sentenced Puddicombe to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years.

Dennis Hoy died from six blows to the head with an axe on Oct. 26, 2006.

According to Puddicombe’s statement to police on the night of the murder, she said someone was after Hoy and had slashed his tires.

She told them that he was into “illegal stuff” and had been associating with the Hells Angels.

Crown counsel Tom Lissaman argued her diversion was evidence Puddicombe promoted a plan to mislead police and blame the murder on an unknown intruder.

Ashleigh Pechaluk was tried and acquitted of Hoy’s murder in June of this year. She was the Crown’s main witness in Puddicombe’s trial.