Toronto gay village killer sentenced

Bruce McArthur appeared in courtImage copyright

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Bruce McArthur was arrested last January and pleaded guilty on 18 January 2019

Canadian serial killer Bruce McArthur has been handed a life sentence for the murder of eight men.

The 67-year-old has been given eight concurrent life sentences, and will not be eligible for parole for 25 years.

McArthur stood impassively in a red plaid shirt and grey jumper while the sentence was handed down on Friday.

He had pleaded guilty to eight counts of first-degree murder for the brutal killings of eight men – some of them close friends.

As each count carried a mandatory life sentence without parole for 25 years, the only decision before Justice John McMahon has been whether to sentence him concurrently or consecutively.

McArthur will not be eligible for parole before he is 91.

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Toronto Police/BBC

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Clockwise from upper left: Selim Esen, Andrew Kinsman, Majeed Kayhan, Dean Lisowick, Kirushna Kumar Kanagaratnam, Abdulbasir Faizi, Skandaraj Navaratnam, Soroush Mahmudi

Most of his victims had ties to Toronto’s Gay Village neighbourhood, as did McArthur himself.

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

Justice McMahon called the crimes “pure evil”.

He especially condemned McArthur’s exploitation of his victims’ vulnerabilities.

Two of the men were periodically homeless and struggled with addiction; one was a refugee who was about to be deported; several were married men, who had not revealed their sexuality to their families.

But if McArthur believed they would go unmissed, he miscalculated.

“Dean was a loving and caring man,” his uncle wrote the court. “He was not alone in this world.”

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Bruce McArthur was arrested on 18 January

Lisowick, who struggled with mental health problems and addiction, had been homeless and was discharged from a shelter the day McArthur killed him.

“With proper treatment, Dean’s life could have been turned around but that opportunity has been taken away from him.”

His cousin, Julie Pearo, spoke about how her love for Dean has eclipsed her “hatred and anger” at McArthur.

“My love for Dean, my grief in his absence, the movie reels of memories in my head… take up all the space in my heart and my thoughts,” she said through tears in court.

Others relatives expressed rage at McArthur.

Umme Farzook, who reported her husband Soroush Mahmudi missing, still calls him her “soul mate”.

Since learning of his murder, she says she suffers from PTSD and has been unable to work.

She sobbed while prosecutor Craig Harper read her statement aloud to the court.

“My pain and suffering will always be there as long as I live,” she wrote. “And I will constantly be reminded of how my beloved and innocent husband was brutally murdered.”

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