McClintic insists she delivered fatal blows to Tori

WARNING: THIS STORY CONTAINS DISTURBING DETAILS Terri-Lynne McClintic insists that she killed Victoria (Tori) Stafford, despite an earlier statement to police in which she said Michael Thomas Rafferty delivered the fatal blows with a hammer.

WARNING: This story contains disturbing details

Terri-Lynne McClintic, seen in a photo shown to jurors this week, returned to testify in a London, Ont., court on Friday.

Terri-Lynne McClintic insisted today that she killed Victoria (Tori) Stafford, despite an earlier recorded statement to police in which she said her former boyfriend Michael Thomas Rafferty delivered the fatal blows with a hammer.

McClintic began testifying at Rafferty's trial earlier this week. She pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in April 2010 and is serving a life sentence.

Rafferty, 31, has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder, sexual assault causing bodily harm and abduction.

The day began with Crown attorney Kevin Gowdey asking McClintic if she remembered a statement she gave to provincial police Det. Sgt. Jim Smyth on May 24, 2009.

The Crown said the statement was about who killed Tori. Gowdey asked McClintic if she would like to look it over, which she agreed to do.

After she reviewed the statement, Gowdey asked McClintic if she would like to change any of the testimony given earlier this week about who held the hammer when Tori was killed.

But McClintic did not change her trial testimony, reiterating that she killed the Grade 3 student.

However, in the afternoon, the jury was shown five video clips of McClintic speaking with Smyth on May 24, 2009, in which she claimed that it was Rafferty who delivered the fatal blows with the hammer.

McClintic told the officer that Rafferty at one point kicked Tori a "couple" of times.

Gowdey asked McClintic why she had previously said it was Rafferty who killed the child.

"I could not accept that I was capable of committing something so heinous," she told the court Friday.

McClintic said it was Rafferty who wanted to abduct a child and the one who sexually assaulted Tori, so why couldn’t he be the "monster that killed her as well."

"If I didn’t say something, this is a man that could do this again to some other child," she said.

After her testimony, Justice Thomas Heeney told the jurors they cannot use McClintic’s statements from the May 24, 2009, video to decide the current case, because at trial she has maintained she was the one who hit Tori with a hammer.

However, the jurors can use those statements to determine the credibility of McClintic as a witness, Heeney said. 

He then told the jurors that they would not need to return to court until Wednesday morning.

Jurors must 'keep a completely open mind’

Heeney also reminded the jury members that they have only heard Crown evidence and the case is far from over.

"Your job is to keep a completely open mind" until beginning deliberations, Heeney told them.

Rodney Stafford says it is difficult, but necessary, to hear the details coming out in court about his daughter's slaying. (Dave Chidley/Canadian Press)

Tori’s father, Rodney Stafford, told reporters Friday that it is difficult, but necessary to hear the details that are coming out in court.

He said people should be more aware of the dangers facing children.

McClintic is the eighth Crown witness to testify so far during the trial. She has told jurors about her prior relationship with Rafferty as well as the day that Tori was killed.

Last week, Tori’s mother and teacher testified, as did a parent at her former school and four police officers who participated in the investigation that was launched after she disappeared.

Tori was last seen alive on April 8, 2009, when she was walking away from Oliver Stephens Public School in Woodstock, Ont. Her remains were later found in a rural area near Mount Forest, Ont., more than 100 kilometres north of her hometown.

Her disappearance spawned a massive investigation that eventually involved hundreds of officers.