One week after news broke that police had arrested and charged Bruce McArthur with the alleged murders of two men who vanished from Toronto’s Gay Village, more details have emerged about the accused killers' past and his family, including a previous conviction for assault by McArthur and criminal charges and convictions for his son, Todd.
Bruce McArthur, a 66-year-old Toronto resident, is facing two counts of first degree murder in the cases of Andrew Kinsman and Selim Esen, who vanished from Toronto’s Church and Wellesley area last year. Police believe there are more victims.
After he was convicted in 2003 for assaulting a man with a metal pipe, McArthur received a conditional sentence that included being banned from an area that included The Village and prohibited from spending time with “male prostitutes” as part of his sentence, the Toronto Star reported on Wednesday. He was also ordered to provide a DNA sample to be added to a police database.
McArthur’s son Todd is facing charges of his own for criminal harassment, indecent phone calls, and breaching probation, and has a long history of similar convictions in Oshawa, according to court documents obtained by VICE News.
Between November 2015 and February, 2016, Todd McArthur “with intent to alarm” made indecent communications towards an Oshawa woman and criminally harassed her.
Todd McArthur, who is out on bail pending his most recent harassment charges, is listed as living at the same Thorncliffe apartment as his father, according to bail documents. Bruce McArthur, along with his ex-wife Janice McArthur, is also listed as a surety for Todd, despite his previous conviction.
“A criminal record isn’t an automatic bar to acting as a surety,” Toronto-based criminal lawyer Daniel Brown told VICE News. “But it’s something that may be concerning to a judge when they’re deciding whether or not that person is suitable.”
The nature of the criminal history and how recent it is would be taken into account, explained Brown, who isn’t connected to the case.
Bruce McArthur’s assault conviction is the type of offence that “would normally disqualify a person from as a surety for someone else,” said Brown. “It may be the judge wasn’t aware of that.”
In 2014, Todd was sentenced to 17 months in jail after he targeted a Kitchener woman for two months, harassing with crude sexual remarks, including about her relationship with her wife, and whispering her name before she could hang up, the Waterloo Record reported at the time.
Court documents show Todd, 36, also threatened to post naked photos of the victim, who VICE News has chosen not to identify. The victim has since separated from her partner at the time and moved to Alberta. Her current partner told VICE News over text message that the victim “lives in fear” and had to change her name at work following Todd’s threats.
Todd’s current lawyer did not respond to VICE News’ questions by deadline.
Todd McArthur has more than two dozen convictions in Oshawa, according to The Record — all for harrassing calls, indecent calls, and criminal harassment that involves awareness of provoking fear.
McArthur has been diagnosed “telephone scatalogia,” according to The Record. The disorder is characterized by an intense urge to make obscene phone calls.
Before Bruce McArthur’s Facebook page was deactivated last week, he was listed as being friends with Skandaraj ‘Skanda’ Navaratnam, the first of three gay men to disappear from The Village between 2010 and 2012.
According to a friend, Bruce McArthur and ‘Skanda’ began dating in 1999, as first reported by Daily Xtra. Jean-Guy Cloutier, who reported Navaratnam missing in 2010 and describes him as his “best friend,” told VICE News that his friend introduced him to McArthur in 2008 or 2009.
Police had said McArthur was not a suspect during Project Houston, an 18-month-long investigation into earlier disappearances of Navaratnam, Abdulbasir Faizi, and Majeed Kayhan —all from the same area of the city.
Now they’re open to investigating any links between McArthur and those disappearances.
Bruce McArthur is expected back in Toronto court on February 14.
With files from Justin Ling and Rachel Browne