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McClintic told police Rafferty killed Tori Stafford; now she says it was her


Terri-Lynne McClintic is transported from court for proceedings in the Michael Rafferty murder trial in London, Ontario, Friday, March, 16, 2012. Rafferty is charged with several offences including first-degree murder in the death of eight-year-old Victoria "Tori" Stafford. McClintic is already serving a life sentence after pleading guilty two years ago to first-degree murder in Tori's death. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Dave Chidley

LONDON, Ont. - A young woman described in graphic detail this week how she killed eight-year-old Victoria Stafford, but court heard Friday that she originally told police a very different story.

WARNING: Graphic details from this court case may disturb some readers.

Days after she was charged in the death, a sobbing Terri-Lynne McClintic, then 18, told police it was her boyfriend who had murdered Tori after raping the little girl, court heard.

McClintic has told a courtroom she snatched Tori outside her Woodstock, Ont., elementary school in April 2009 at the urging of her boyfriend Michael Rafferty, although when she shoved the Grade 3 student in his car he complained she wasn't young enough. They drove Tori to a rural area more than 100 kilometres north where Rafferty sexually assaulted her, McClintic testified.

After witnessing the alleged sex assault, pent-up rage from her own childhood trauma caused McClintic to grab a hammer and kill the girl by hitting her several times in the head, she testified.

But that's not what she told police on May 24, 2009, just days after she and Rafferty were charged.

Excerpts of the videotaped statement that day show McClintic weeping as she described Rafferty raping Tori while the girl was calling out to her to "make him stop," kicking and stomping on the girl on the ground. Rafferty then covered the child's head with a garbage bag before he used the hammer to kill her, McClintic told police.

When Crown attorney Kevin Gowdey confronted McClintic with the inconsistency Friday, she said the story she told police was more or less true, except it was she, not Rafferty, who kicked and killed Tori.

Gowdey asked why she had blamed Rafferty, if she in fact was the killer. McClintic said she couldn't accept she was capable of "something so heinous." Rafferty was the one who wanted to kidnap a child and had raped Tori, she said.

"Couldn't he be the monster that killed her as well?" she said.

McClintic really killed Tori but pinned it on Rafferty because she had ignored "risk factors" about him, McClintic said.

"This is a man that could do it again to some other child," she said. "It wasn't up to me to do something about that?"

Gowdey, who confronted the Crown's own witness about the differing stories, asked why, if her efforts to implicate Rafferty "were thought through so carefully," could she not say the exact number of blows inflicted on Tori, if she herself was the one really inflicted them. McClintic said she wasn't being "completely truthful" at the time.

McClintic, 21, is already serving a life sentence after pleading guilty two years ago to first-degree murder in Tori's death.

She spent most of the week on the stand at the trial of Rafferty, 31, who has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder, sexual assault causing bodily harm, and kidnapping. Tori was abducted shortly after school let out on the afternoon of April 8, 2009.

Superior Court Judge Thomas Heeney told the jury that because McClintic is remaining firm in her current version of events, they can't use her statement on the video as evidence that Rafferty killed Tori. However, the jury can use the portions of video to assess McClintic's credibility, Heeney said.

McClintic is set to resume her testimony Wednesday after the lawyers spend Tuesday arguing legal issues.

McClintic, who told Rafferty at one point that she would "take the fall" for him, wrote her recollection of the events of April 8, 2009, in a document for her lawyer while in detention, including that Rafferty was the one who killed Tori, court heard earlier this week.

"He had a life, a job, things going for him and I was just, I really had nothing," McClintic testified. "I said, 'Don't worry about it, it's OK. It's OK. I'm just an 18-year-old junkie anyways.'''

Rafferty replied, "I've always wanted conjugal visits," McClintic said.

Tori's partially clothed remains were found 103 days after her death in the field near Mount Forest, Ont. She died from the multiple blows to the head with a hammer, but she also had blunt force injuries to her body that lacerated her liver and fractured her ribs injuries that could have been fatal on their own, court has heard.


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