Notes from the podcast
Prologue: On October 29, 1999 Monique Gaudreau, a 45-year-old nurse at a hospital in the Laurentians was found dead at her home in Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts, Quebec (North of Montreal) . Gaudreau was found in the bedroom. She had been beaten, sexually assaulted, and stabbed 55 times. This is the story of William Patrick Fyfe.
Music: The Poppy Family: Evil Grows
Some intro on Fyfe: William Fyfe , known as the Killer Handyman, Born in late February 1955. One of Canada’s most prolific serial killers. That’s why it’s important to talk about him.
So let’s get into how Fyfe was caught. To answer that we first turn to the case of Anna Yarnold, a 59-year-old woman who was found dead on October 15, 1999 in Senneville, Quebec (west of Montreal… 1,500 people?). Lived in isolated home on water front. In analyzing the crime scene police note that the assailant approached the house in a vehicle at night. Yarnold’s dog was locked in a room with her handbag, wallet. The body found outside in the garden. Face down in flower bed. There was bruising on the neck and face, and she was beaten with a flower pot. She was initially attacked in the bathroom. She ran outside. Where she was choked beaten and bashed in the head with a flower pot. The assailant took credit cards. Police initially suspect her husband, Robert Yarnold because the scene seemed too violent for a mere robbery. crime of passion. There were no forensics / hard to get forensics on an outside murder. (Paul Cherry interviewed, he reported that it probably wasn’t a robbery)
Police know began to question if this was in some way connected to an incident that happened earlier in the Summer in the West Island of Montreal. In July, 1999 a woman named Janet Kuckinsky was attacked and murdered on a Bicycle path in the West Island.
At this point police also go back to the case of Monique Gaudreau, a 45-year-old victim from Saint Agathe who was beaten, sexually assaulted and stabbed 55 times. However, as with Yarnold police have very little forensics. In fact, not even a robbery, nothing taken. Outside they find a footprint (blood of Mrs. Gaudreau). They also find blood droplets belonging to a male individual. Different causes of death (knife / smashed with pot), therefore different killers? Forensic biologist Josenthe Prevot: “It’s difficult to approach violence, to be in there him. To be in the victim’s environment where they live their everyday lives”
On November 19th, 1999, a 55-year old accountant goes missing in Laval, Quebec. When police go to check her apartment they find four Montreal Gazette’s stacked outside her door. Teresa Shanahan was found stabbed to death on November 23, 1999. She had been sexually assaulted, beaten and stabbed 32 times. The scene was similar to Gaudreau, except there were items missing, jewelry and credit cards. Later there were ATM withdrawals the evening of the murder : $500 / $500. The assailant obtained her PIN number. At about this time the daughter of Anna Yarnold noticed withdrawals from her account. Police obtained a grainy / blurry photo produced from ATM, man in kangaroo hoody with a bearded. As Yarnold’s husband was clean shaven this ruled him out.
From this police now piece together that the assailant is torturing victims to obtain PIN numbers. He’s using subterfuge to obtain entry / tradesman or handyman: no break-ins.
December 15, 1999: a man comes to door of home in Baie-d’Urfé, Quebec (west). Asks the woman who answers if she’d like any gardening done. He’s doing some work in the area, could he offer services. Woman talks to husband, and then declines the offer.
Across the street on that same day 50-year-old Mary Glenn, was beaten and stabbed to death. Glenn lived alone in a waterfront home. Same man approaches home. Following morning woman finds her in living room. Interior, beaten, stabbed and violated. Prevost returns. Clothed. Beaten with blunt object. No forced entry. Very violent, covering many rooms, hair ripped out, blood in multiple rooms. Finished in living room. Turned on back,” beaten to a pulp” Again, footprints in blood. Blood on hands, washes hands in kitchen sink. Goes to bedroom upstairs, shakes down victim’s purse. A forensics printer expert, Jean Paul Menier, finds a finger print. Loads into finger print bank. A match is made: The print is that of 44 year old William Fyfe.
So who is Fyfe? Born in Toronto, raised in Montreal. Attended Montreal High School, he was known for urinating on the school bus. His first adult run-in with the law was in 1975, when he was charged with theft over $200 in Montreal and sentenced to six months in jail. Since then a series of robberies and thefts. He worked as handyman. He was married, separated with a child. Since then several rel/ships. He did home renovations. Last known address was in a town north of Montreal.
At this point the police have a puzzle: Do they go public and risk scaring him off into hiding, or do they act in the importance of the public interest? The police are given several hours to find him. Ex-girl friend tips that he may be staying at mother’s in Barrie Ontario. OPP Detective Jim Miller goes to mother’s old farm house. Car with QC plates registered to Fyfe. 24 hour surveillance. Determining if enough evidence to arrest. MUC come to Barrie, publish photo of Fyfe. Say he’s suspect, wanted for questioning. Story goes national. Leaves home, goes to Toronto, looks for newspapers, puts in orders for the Gazette. Dec 21st, 1999. Goes to church, drops three pairs of running shoes. Drove away. Spots on shoes that appear to be blood. Police finally close in on Fyfe at the Husky Truck Stop gas station in Barrie on December 22, 1999, he’s placed under arrest for Mary Elizabeth Glenn. “why don’t you shoot me now?”
Corporal Andrew Bouchard, Montreal police : on the investigation. Bouchard head of Montreal’s major crimes division. Interrogation: “arrogant. Cold like a fish”. First night, they don’t get very far. The secure his cigarette butts for DNA.
Hazel Scattolon, a 52-year-old woman who was stabbed to death and sexually assaulted in March 21, 1981. Scattalon’s son played hockey with Fyfe. Calls in in aftermath. Fyfe had painted in Hazel’s house. Mount Royal. At this point, where they thought they were investigating a series of murders from 1999, Fyfe has the potential of stretching back 18 years
Through it all Fyfe maintained his innocence, but there was simply too much evidence. There was blood on Fyfe’s shoes and clothing. In the case of Anna Yarnold police found traces of her blood on Fyfe’s clothing. The prints from the Monique Gaudreau crime scene tied to shoes recovered at the church in Ontario. Teresa Shanahan’s stolen ring later turned up as one of Fyfe’s possessions. And finally of course the finger print recovered at the Mary Glenn site turned out to be Fyfe’s.
On Sept 21, 2001 Fyfe is sentenced to life in prison wit out parole for 25 years. He denied involvement in the Janet Kuckinsky case.
During these affairs Fyfe hinted at other cases. After his conviction he confessed to 4 more:
- Suzanne-Marie Bernier, a 62-years-old woman who was stabbed and sexually assaulted October 17, 1979 in Cartierville, Montreal
- Nicole Raymond, a 26-years-old woman who was stabbed and sexually assaulted on November 14, 1979 in Pointe-Claire, Montreal
- Louise Poupart-Leblanc, a 37-years-old woman who was stabbed 17 times and sexually assaulted on September 26, 1987 in Saint-Adèle, Laurentides
- Pauline Laplante, a 44-years-old woman who was stabbed and sexually assaulted on June 9, 1989 in Saint-Adèle, Laurentides
And police also later learn that Fyfe was responsible for a string of violent rapes in the 1980s in downtown Montreal / “The Plumber” rapes.
- Suzanne-Marie Bernier, Cartierville, Montreal, October 17, 1979
- Nicole Raymond, Pointe-Claire, Montreal November 14, 1979
- Hazel Scattolon, Mount Royal March 21, 1981. Stabbed 27 times.
(series of violent rapes in the 1980s / Plumber Rapes)
- Louise Poupart-Leblanc, Saint-Adèle, Laurentides September 26, 1987
- Pauline Laplante, Saint-Adèle, Laurentides June 9, 1989
- Janet Kuckinsky, West island July 1999
- Anna Yarnold, Senneville, Quebec (west of Montreal) October 15, 1999
- Monique Gaudreau, Sainte-Agathe, October 29, 1999
- Teresa Shanahan, Laval, Quebec November 19 1999
- Mary Glenn, Baie-d’Urfé, Quebec (west). December 15, 1999
So putting the timeline together, Fyfe’s activity crosses two decades 1979 – 1999.
Police begin to ponder the the gaps in time. And why the slowing of violence? Why did he calm down. Police said Fyfe was always willing to describe the crimes in vivid detail, but he remained silent as to motive. “What hit you to cause you to kill again? Why did you stab her so many times” / “that’s for me to know”, Fyfe replied.
In 2000 a task force was formed and Investigation units from Montreal, Laval, SQ went back and check files on 85 cold cases dating back to 1981.
During the 1980s Fyfe lived in St. Laurent (borders Cartierville) , LaSalle, Lachine and Verdun (south of Pointe Saint Charles) during the 1980s and in the Laurentian town of Saint-Jerome in 1993 (north).
He still remains a suspect in at least 5 unsolved murders:
- 1991 murder of Montrealer Joanne Beaudoin, 35, who was stabbed to death in Town of Mount Royal in May 1990. The killer stole her gray 1987 Honda Accord and several items from her home. Car later found torched.
- Laval police submitted the case of 55-year-old Theresa Litzak. Her body was found in her Laval apartment on Nov. 22, 1999. Police believe she was killed Nov. 19 (this would mean she was killed the same day as Shanahan who also lived in Laval). She lived alone, as did Yarnold and Glen.
- 3 Ontario cases.
Looking at our own cases, could Fyfe be a suspect? No: wrong timeline (too young), different modus operandi:
- Lise Chagnon / Saint Hubert / 1974: entered subterfuge. Struggle, blood in many rooms. Stabbed and bludgeoned . Fyfe was 19. Saint Hubert adjacent to Longueuil.
- Roxanne Luce / 1981 / Longueuil.
- 1977: Hawkes: Beaten, Stabbed, raped, purse missing: Fyfe’s first known murder was in 1979 when he was 24, could he have killed at 22?
- 1978: Lison Blais: choked, struck on head, raped, purse missing
Note the above two because police only delve back as far as 1979, so we presume they know he was in prison?
- 1979: Nicole Gaudreault: Beaten about head and raped. Empty purse. Blood on stairs, but extended to back lot: fight?
Was Fyfe operating with a different M.O .at an earlier age, then switched at some point to something less risky? (Outdoors to indoors. Younger to older victims)
Fyfe will be elegible for parole September, 2026. He will be 69 to 70 years of age.
Out music: Terry Jacks / Seasons in the Sun