The judge said he was struck by a comment McCreadie’s daughter made: “How someone can do that I will never understand.”
Lawlor had three-way sex with McCreadie and John Davie in the woods on the edge of the park on the night of April 9, 2014. Davie testified Lawlor wrapped a scarf around Davie’s neck during sex and tightened it.
Davie said he loosened it and then left Lawlor alone with McCreadie. He said he never saw McCreadie again. His body was found the next day, close to the spot where Davie had left the pair.
Davie, the Crown’s star witness, had been casual friends with McCreadie for four years.
“All I can really say to my friend Mark is that I wished I had known, that something would have triggered me not to leave him alone,” Davie said Thursday in an interview in front of the courthouse.
“I’m not going to say I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. I think I was in the right place at the right time. Unfortunately, it happened, but if I wasn’t there, he would have gotten away with it.”
In an interview with police, Lawlor said he had been “violently raped” by a man a year before McCreadie’s murder.
He said he was initially ashamed, but then said he began drinking and “cruising for perpetrators.”
The trial was told Lawlor planned to kill another man before murdering McCreadie but relented when the man complimented him on his listening skills.
Lawlor often drove around with a knife and rope.
He had nothing to say before being sentenced.
“Not at this time,” Lawlor said when asked by the judge if he wanted to address the court.
McCreadie was a separated father with two grown children and a granddaughter. He had worked at Brewer’s Retail (now The Beer Store) but was on disability when he was killed. He had moved from Toronto to Kitchener to care for his mother, who has dementia.
“My father was a caring, charming family man,” Tammy McCreadie, 34, wrote. “He had a very big heart and would do anything for his friends and family. He would do anything to help someone in need.”
McCreadie, who lives in Toronto, said she graduated from college just before her father was murdered.
She said she developed post-traumatic stress disorder and fibromyalgia after the murder. She has severe panic attacks and has trouble sleeping.
“I can no longer trust people. I am reluctant to make new relationships or have a boyfriend because I am in fear that there is some sinister hidden motive behind their actions. I feel that once I’m in a vulnerable situation, that’s when they will try and hurt me.”
McCreadie, who sees Lawlor as a “risk to society,” said she would like to speak to him to see if he feels any remorse.
The 25 years of parole ineligibility for Lawlor dates back to the day he was arrested in April 2014, meaning he will be almost 80 before getting a chance to leave prison.
Lawlor looked teary-eyed when saying goodbye to his two sisters before being led off to prison.
Davie said he was “very pleased” that Lawlor will be behind bars for decades.
“I almost fell victim to him myself,” he said. “Too close for comfort.”
The woods behind Victoria Park used to be “a place of true privacy, confidentiality, just a safe zone area for gay and bisexual men to go to,” said Davie, a 20-year volunteer with the AIDS Committee of Cambridge, Kitchener, Waterloo and Area.
The woods weren’t just used for sex, he said, but for conversation and a feeling of community. That is over, he said.
Lawlor, meanwhile, studied theology and pastoral counselling between 2008 and 2010, according to his LinkedIn profile
The profile says he worked at UW as an “adviser supporting students living with mental health conditions.” That’s false, a UW spokesperson said in 2014. He worked as an adviser to students with disabilities. Shortly before the murder, Lawlor learned his contract would not be renewed.
At the time, people applying for student adviser jobs got reference checks but not police checks.
Because he was pardoned, Lawlor’s manslaughter conviction probably wouldn’t have been revealed by a police check.
Getting a pardon is more difficult today. The Omnibus Crime Bill tightened things up in 2012 after it was revealed that infamous serial sexual predator Graham James had been granted a pardon.
Tammy McCreadie, meanwhile, has no anger toward Lawlor.
“In fact, I feel sorry for him. He’s dealing with demons and darkness inside him. I have more anger toward myself because I did not spend more time with my father when he was alive. You always think you have time.”
McCreadie has many fond memories of her dad, including a childhood trip to the amusement park on Centre Island in Toronto.
“My father was a husband, a father, a grandfather, a nephew, a cousin, a grandchild, a friend and human being who didn’t deserve to die. He will be forever missed by his family and friends and will never be forgotten.”
I feel sorry for (Lawlor). He’s dealing with demons and darkness inside him. TAMMY MCCREADIE