‘I do not see Bruce McArthur seeing daylight’: serial killer to serve eight concurrent life sentences

Verdict disappoints friends and loved ones of McArthur's eight victims

Bruce McArthur murder victim sister gets hugged outside Toronto courtroom
Shelley Kinsman, sister of Bruce McArthur victim Andrew Kinsman gets hugged by Susan Gapkan outside Toronto's Superior Court of Justice Friday afternoon.  Corne Van Hoepen | Toronto Observer

Serial killer Bruce McArthur has been sentenced to life behind bars and will be eligible for parole in 25 years, Superior Justice John McMahon ruled Friday afternoon.

Shortly after 10:20 a.m., McArthur was led to the prisoners’ box of a crowded courtroom at Toronto’s Superior Court of Justice to learn his fate. Earlier in the week, he pleaded guilty to murdering eight men in Toronto between 2010 and 2017.

McArthur was a landscaper. Police found most of his victims’ remains buried in planters at a home in Leaside where he had stored tools.

His eyes were downcast as McMahon sentenced him to eight concurrent life sentences with no chance of parole for 25 years, by which time the serial killer will be 91 years old.

Watch a friend of three McArthur victims react to the sentence:

The judge’s sentence frustrated family members, friends, and community members.

“It is not enough for the families, it’s not enough for the lives lost, and it’s not enough for the community said Nicole Borthwick, who was a friend of three of the victims.

“There is no closure. There is no grace. This community is broken and it’s going to be broken for a long, long time.”

The Crown had argued McArthur, 67, should serve two consecutive life sentences, which would have meant no chance of parole until he was 116 years old.

“If the accused either had a trial, or would have been younger, I would have had no hesitation in imposing consecutive parole ineligibility terms to protect the public,” McMahon said.

Had McArthur pled guilty, the case would have gone to trial and “would have been a nightmare for everyone,” the judge said.

Harry Singh interacted with several of the victims that frequented his nightclub.

Harry Singh interacted with several of McArthur’s victims that frequented his former nightclub, Zipperz (Courtesy Harry Singh)

Most of McArthur’s victims had ties to Toronto’s Gay Village. Many were marginalized or particularly vulnerable because of their immigration status, addictions or mental health concerns.

They were Selim Esen, Andrew Kinsman, Majeed Kayhan, Dean Lisowick, Kirushna Kumar Kanagaratnam, Abdulbasir Faizi, Skandaraj Navaratnam and Soroush Mahmudi.

Harry Singh, the ex-owner of Zipperz, a nightclub that several of the victims frequented, also found the sentence disappointing.

“It hurts to see that he received the lightest possible sentence,”  Singh said in a Facebook message.  Singh went on to say “I don’t think he will or should ever be paroled, he may die in prison.”

In handing down McArthur’s sentence, the judge noted it is unlikely he will live long enough to be eligible for parole. McMahon noted that most healthy males in Canada will not live to age 89, and that McArthur’s health reduces that possibility further; he has Type 2 diabetes.

“Let’s be honest here. I do not see Bruce McArthur seeing daylight. I do not see him in a public setting ever again,” Mark Saunders, Toronto’s police chief, told reporters after the sentencing. “He will be eligible for parole in 25 years, but that does not mean he will be free.”

Watch Toronto police take questions on the McArthur case:


Police continue to receive backlash from the members of the public who believe police should have recognized a serial killer was at work in Toronto’s Gay Village sooner.

Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders addresses the media.

Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders addresses the media about the results of the Bruce McArthur investigation.  (ALEXANDER RODRIGUEZ | TORONTO OBSERVER)

A Toronto police officer has also been charged with insubordination and neglect of duty under the Police Services Act after coming into contact with McArthur in 2016.

A man had complained about McArthur’s violent behaviour. McArthur was arrested but not charged.

Peter Sgromo, a man who escaped what could have been a deathly encounter with Bruce McArthur

Peter Sgromo, pictured with his dog Bryce, had an encounter with Bruce McArthur in April 2017, and managed to escape. (COURTESY PETER SGROMO)

Peter Sgromo knew McArthur for over a decade, and on April 17, 2017, Sgromo escaped what says could have been a deathly encounter with him.

“It is easy for me not be angry, especially now. It is easy because I did not end up in pieces found in planters all over the GTA,” Sgromo said.

“He (McArthur) did one good thing, which was to admit to his crimes,” Sgromo went on to say during a phone interview from his home in Mission, B.C.

A vigil will be held at 7 p.m. this Sunday evening at Metropolitan Community Church in Toronto to honour the lives of McArthur’s victims.

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Posted: Feb 10 2019 11:17 am
Filed under: News