New surveillance video shows stabbing victim, attacker moments before murder

Nighisti Semret (Courtesy Toronto Police)

Toronto police are looking for a man with an apparent limp in connection to the stabbing death of 55-year-old Nighisti Semret.

At an afternoon briefing on Oct. 29, police released new surveillance footage of a man following Semret shortly before she was attacked last week.

“The deceased can be clearly seen walking with her umbrella but the suspect cannot be seen,” Det.-Sgt. Gary Giroux of the homicide squad said.

On Oct. 23 at 6:30 a.m., Semret left the Delta Chelsea Hotel, where she worked as a cleaning supervisor, and was on her way home to her Cabbagetown rooming house, police said.

Her attacker followed her down an alley between condo buildings and jumped her from behind, police said.

The video then shows the man running west toward Bleecker Street, police said.

Just after 7 a.m., police responded to a call on Ontario Street, where they found Semret in the alley, police said.

The Delta Chelsea Hotel and Andorra Building Maintenance Limited are set to hold a benefit concert in Semret’s memory on Nov. 2 at Monarch’s Pub at 8 p.m.

“The motive of the attack in relation with the deceased remains unclear,” Giroux said.

Police describe the suspect as male, white, 5-foot-10 to 6-foot-2 with a medium build. He was wearing a long dark coat, a light or white scarf around his neck, a dark hat with a peak, and dark pants and dark shoes, police said.

An Oshawa physician, coroner and orthopaedic surgeon has examined the footage and said that the suspect seems to have a limp on the left side, Giroux said.

“In addition, [the doctor] felt that the deceased had an unusual gait or a possible limp, and as it turns out, she does, on the left-hand side as well,” he said.

Investigators are asking anyone with information to contact police at 416−808−7400 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416−222−TIPS (8477).