Bruce McArthur denies assaulting man in previously unpublished 2016 police interview

TORONTO –
WARNING: This story contains graphic details

A recently released video of a 2016 police interview with serial killer Bruce McArthur describes the version of events he gave to investigators after being accused of assaulting a man in the back of his minivan in a Tim Hortons parking lot less than two years before he was accused of murdering eight men.

The video was originally presented as an exhibition at the disciplinary hearing for Sgt. Paul Gauthier, a Toronto police officer who was charged under the Police Services Act in connection with his handling of a complaint from a man who accused McArthur of assaulting him in June 2016.

In August, Gauthier was not found guilty of the two charges he faces – disobedience and neglect of duty – but a court ruled Monday that the Toronto Police Service wrongfully withdrew the police interview as an exhibit at Gauthier’s disciplinary hearing. The court ruled that the video should be released to the media despite objections from the prosecution and Gauthier’s defense team.

“The failure to present in this case the documents requested by the applicants before the hearing was concluded was contrary to the principle of open consultation,” the decision read.

The police interview was conducted on the night of June 20, 2016, just hours after a complainant reported to police and accused McArthur of assaulting him during a sexual encounter in the back of a van in the parking lot of a Tim Hortons near Bathurst Street and Finch Avenue .

The identity of the complainant is protected under a prohibition on publication of the right.

The police interview with the man who accused McArthur of assault was not recorded on video, but in previously released court documents, the complainant reported that during the meeting that night, McArthur “got a look of anger on his face” as he tried to tie the man’s arms down and suffocates him.

“The victim asked McArthur to let him go, even though it was difficult to breathe because McArthur crushed his larynx,” the court documents read.

The man told police he was able to escape McArthur’s grip and leave the van.

He immediately called 911, and McArthur drove off, the documents said.

McArthur was questioned about the incident in an 11-minute police interview conducted by Gauthier.

Bruce McArthur

“Choking was the claim, and that’s basically why you’ve been arrested today,” Gauthier could be heard saying in the video.

After being informed of his rights, McArthur confirmed to Gauthier and another officer in the room that he did not need a lawyer present and wanted to make a statement to police.

During the interview, McArthur said he and the complainant agreed to have sex in the back of his Dodge Grand Caravan that night.

McArthur said at one point that the complainant asked him to pinch his genitals “as hard as he could.”

“So then I thought, ‘Okay, he likes it harsh.’ So I put my hand to his neck.”

After this, he claimed that the complainant decided to turn around and take McArthur by the throat.

“He said, ‘And now I want to show you what I want to do about you,’ and he had me by the throat to the point that I could not breathe,” McArthur told officers.

“So I raised my hands in the air, as if I was surrendering because I could not speak, and that was when he finally let go.”

McArthur said the man suddenly “jumped out of the car.”

According to McArthur, the man got into his car and he could hear him say something about contacting 911.

“I thought, ‘Oh god, he’s calling the police,’ and then I came out. And then he got out and walked around and took my license plate and that, and then uh, that was when I got a little excited and sat down. into the car and drove off, ”he said during the interview.

“So the more I thought about it, I thought, ‘Well, I should go and give my side of it.’ But I could not for my own life think of where there was a police station in that area.”

McArthur said he eventually ended up at a police station on Eglinton Avenue, but when he spoke to an officer there, they told him there was no record of the complaint.

“She said she ran my name and she said nothing comes up on the screen,” he said.

McArthur said he knew the victim for two or three years but did not know his last name.

“I thought he liked it hard,” McArthur told Gauthier.

When Gauthier asked McArthur if he thought the victim would have sustained injuries during the meeting, he replied, ‘I do not think so.’

McArthur confirmed that the two met every two or three months, and when asked if anything had ever been violent before, he said they were not.

“We had had sex several times and never had a problem,” McArthur said.

While some follow-up questions were asked by Gauthier during the interview, McArthur’s version of events went largely unchallenged.

McArthur was subsequently released after his story was considered credible.

Less than two years after the incident in Tim Horton’s parking lot, McArthur was arrested and charged with the murders of eight men, who disappeared between 2010 and 2017. He pleaded guilty to those murders in January 2019.

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