A 67-year-old Canadian landscape artist has pleaded guilty of killing eight men, who went missing from Toronto’s Gay Village between 2010 and 2017, before a judge in a courtroom early on Tuesday, local reports say.
Bruce McArthur, above (Image: Facebook/ Bruce McArthur), who was arrested in January last year, told Superior Court Justice John McMahon that he was admitting the murders voluntarily.
Most of the victims were immigrants from South Asia or the Middle East. Among them were McArthur’s former lover, two Afghan immigrants, two refugees from Sri Lanka and another from Iran, a Turkish national, and a homeless sex worker.
McArthur’s sentencing hearing will start on Feb 4. His guilty pleas surprised the judge and the prosecutor as his trial was to begin only next year.
McArthur’s admission comes as a huge relief to the families and friends of his victims as it will spare them the trial. However, they will make statements in court about how the killings have affected their lives.
According to prosecutor Michael Cantlon, McArthur, a gay, meticulously planned the murders. McArthur tied up his victims during sexual assaults before committing the murders. The crimes were staged.
the murder, McArthur mutilated his victims and hid the body parts of seven of
them in planters at a client’s property in Toronto where he worked as a gardener.
He dumped the chopped remains of the eighth victim in a ravine behind the
property of his client Karen Fraser.
Fraser had allowed McArthur to store his landscaping equipment along with planters in a garage in exchange for free lawn care, authorities said.
When police raided McArthur’s apartment, they found duct tape, a surgical glove, rope, zip ties, and syringes, court documents said.
Members of Toronto’s LGBT community allege Toronto police did not take their complaints about the missing men seriously.
McArthur’s arrest sparked a massive investigation at some hundred properties he was linked to in the landscaping business.
Strangely, despite his criminal background, McArthur was regarded as a kind, generous and jovial fellow by some people who knew him in Gay Village. His Facebook postings showed he was having a busy social life attending parties and regularly meeting friends at bars and clubs in the village.
McArthur married a woman whom he knew since childhood and they had two children. He moved to Toronto after his marriage collapsed in 2000.
McArthur realised that he was a gay at 45. In 2001, he attacked a male sex worker with a metal pipe in Toronto.
He began to murder people in 2010. Although he was one among the suspects questioned, police let him off.
McArthur became a person of interest for police in August 2017 when two more men went missing from Gay Village. He soon became a suspect and police kept him under watch almost every day until his arrest in January last year.