WARNING: This story contains details that some readers may find graphic and disturbing.
A newly released video shows the first time Toronto police interviewed serial killer Bruce McArthur in 2016 over allegations of assault, years before he was convicted of murdering eight men.
The video, which had not yet been released to the public, was shown during a disciplinary hearing for Toronto police Sgt. Paul Gauthier, who was the officer that interrogated McArthur back then and let him go. The video was sealed by the courts but was released to media who argued for its release.
In the newly public video, McArthur told Gauthier he met the victim who alleged assault at the Tim Hortons at Bathurst Street and Finch Avenue West.
He said the two planned to have sex and that the victim suggested going to the back of his truck, though they ended up going to the back of McArthur’s van instead because there was more room.
McArthur said he and the victim started kissing and that the victim wanted McArthur to squeeze his genitals “as hard as (he) could.”
“He got aroused by that, so then I thought, ‘OK, he likes it rough,’ so I put my hand to his throat,” McArthur told Gauthier in 2016.
“Just for a few seconds, because before that — he’s very strong — he just completely turned around and grabbed me by the throat.”
McArthur said the victim had him by the throat to the point where he “couldn’t breathe” before McArthur put his hands up in the air and the victim let go of his grasp. McArthur then said the victim jumped out of the van.
“He said, ‘I don’t want to see you again,'” he added. “I thought he was getting in his car to leave because he started the car, and it was running. I could hear it running because it was parked right beside me. The next thing I heard him say was 911.”
McArthur said he and the victim both got out of their vehicles and that the victim took down McArthur’s licence plate. McArthur then got in his car and drove off.
He said he wanted to give the cops his side of the story so he drove to the Toronto police station on Eglinton Avenue.
In the video, McArthur told Gauthier he had known the victim for maybe two or three years and that he saw him every two to three months.
When Gauthier asked McArthur whether sexual interactions had ever turned violent before, he responded “no.” McArthur also told Gauthier that he wasn’t injured from the incident and that he didn’t believe the victim would have been injured either.
McArthur said he had sex with the victim “numerous times” and that they previously “never had a problem” before the interview with Gauthier ended.
In 2019, the victim told Global News he “knew” McArthur was going to kill him.
In the interview with Global News, the victim said McArthur was waiting for him in the parking lot of his apartment building when he returned home from work. He said he told McArthur that he was tired, hungry and needed to shower.
“I said, ‘Let’s go up upstairs,'” the victim told Global News in 2019. “He doesn’t want to go upstairs. He wants to make out in the van. He wants to be in the van. He was very insistent on it.”
The victim said McArthur told him to get in the car and lie down to have sex. After about a minute of kissing, the victim said McArthur asked him to put his left arm over his head before the victim was pinned down by McArthur and unable to escape.
After about four minutes, the victim said he was able to break away from underneath McArthur and get out of the van.
“When he let go of my neck, that was the sweetest breath of fresh air I ever had,” the victim told Global News in 2019.
He said he got out of McArthur’s van and said he was calling the cops before McArthur drove off.
Gauthier, the officer who questioned McArthur in 2016, was initially charged with insubordination and neglect of duty in relation to his handling of a complaint by a man who alleged McArthur tried to strangle him. The officer was later found not guilty.
A hearing notice released in 2019 alleged Gauthier did not record a video statement from the complainant or photograph his injuries within 72 hours, which is a requirement of the Toronto Police Service’s policy on domestic violence investigations.
McArthur pleaded guilty earlier in 2019 to eight counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of men with ties to Toronto’s Church-Wellesley neighbourhood.
He was arrested in January 2018 and an internal probe related to the case began shortly afterward.
–with files from Nick Westoll and The Canadian Press