Tori Stafford's killer retracts application for review of 'unlawful' move from healing lodge

Terri-Lynne McClintic, who killed eight-year-old Tori Stafford, applied to a court late last month asking for a review of her transfer from an Indigenous healing lodge in Saskatchewan back to a medium-security prison in Ontario.

Terri-Lynne McClintic referred to the transfer back to prison as 'unfair'

Terri-Lynne McClintic was convicted of first-degree murder in the death of eight-year-old Victoria (Tori) Stafford. (Geoff Robins/Canadian Press)

The woman who bludgeoned eight-year-old Victoria (Tori) Stafford to death with a hammer has withdrawn an application to have her move from a healing lodge to a federal prison reviewed.

Terri-Lynne McClintic, 28, of Woodstock, Ont., submitted a habeas corpus application to an Edmonton court on April 30 claiming the move was "unreasonable" and "unfair."

A writ of habeas corpus is a court order that considers the "review of decisions about and conditions of an inmate's detention," McClintic's lawyer, Kelsey Sitar, said in a statement to CBC News Wednesday.

Court documents obtained by CBC News reveal Sitar retracted the application on Friday, three days before an Alberta judge went ahead and ruled on it.

"I can confirm Ms. McClintic's habeas corpus application in Alberta was discontinued on May 10, 2019," Sitar told CBC. 

McClintic serving life sentence

McClintic is serving a life sentence for her role in the 2009 kidnapping, rape and murder of Tori, from Woodstock, Ont., where McClintic lived with her mother. She is not eligible for parole until 2031.

When she testified at the trial of her co-accused, ex-boyfriend Michael Rafferty, McClintic told the court, "I savagely murdered that little girl."

She served four years at the Grand Valley Institution for Women in Kitchener, Ont., before being moved in December 2017 to Corrections Canada's Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge near Maple Creek, Sask.

That move sparked public outcry and prompted a review of her transfer, as well as the policy that allowed the transfer.

As a result, McClintic was removed from the healing lodge, after having spent several months there, and transferred to the Edmonton Institution for Women before eventually returning to the Kitchener prison.

She claimed the decision which led to her transfer was "unreasonable and procedurally unfair, and therefore unlawful."

Tori Stafford was on her way home from school when a couple lured her into their car and drove off.

The application asked the Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta to review the transfer decision. 

Sitar said the application was not specifically for damages or compensation as some news outlets, including CBC, reported on Tuesday. 

It remains unclear why the application was retracted 10 days after it was filed, with Sitar saying only that it is no longer active.

Decision made after retraction

On Monday, Justice John T. Henderson put McClintic's application on hold and sought additional information from her lawyer.

Court documents suggest that McClintic's application was not supported by any evidence. The judge also raised issue with the court having the jurisdiction to hear the application, given McClintic is no longer in Alberta.

Tori's father, Rodney Stafford, told CBC News he needed time to process news of the application. However, he took to Facebook shortly after news broke on Tuesday and expressed he was feeling "betrayed."

None of the allegations contained in McClintic's now-retracted application have been tested in court.


  • An earlier version of this story said the court application filed on behalf of Terri-Lynne McClintic sought compensation for McClintic. In fact, it sought 'an award of costs,' which usually refers to legal fees.
    May 15, 2019 4:46 PM ET