Dad stabbed to death as daughter watched

Henry Stancu Staff Reporter

May 31, 2010


Police have charged a woman with second-degree murder after her common-law husband was fatally stabbed while driving a car that also held the couple’s six-year-old daughter.

Investigators are now calling on the car’s fourth passenger, the woman’s father, to come in for questioning after he fled the scene with his granddaughter.

Ludlow Gillespie, 25, was pronounced dead on arrival at St. Joseph’s Hospital on Saturday afternoon after police say he was stabbed in the neck by a passenger in the rear seat of their car.

Witnesses were drawn to the sounds of a child screaming just as the northbound car veered off Windermere Ave. on to the curb north of the Queensway.

“Before they actually see the vehicle, the loud and sustained screaming from the six-year-old draws their attention,” Homicide Det. Sgt. Gary Giroux told a news conference Monday.

All four occupants got out of the car as it came to a stop, with Gillespie falling to the ground and bleeding from a severe gash to the neck.

At that point, Giroux said, 54-year-old David Winn fled with his granddaughter. The girl’s mother was arrested, and a large kitchen knife was seized.

The girl was brought to police by other family members on Saturday evening, but investigators have yet to locate Winn.

They say he was sitting in the front passenger seat when Gillespie was stabbed, and is the only person other than the child who witnessed the deadly attack.

“I can certainly appreciate the uncomfortable situation he finds himself in,” said Giroux.

The girl, who had been sitting in a booster seat next to her mother, is now in the care of the Children’s Aid Society.

Giroux said the accused and the victim had a history of domestic violence, and that Gillespie had been ordered by a court to have no contact with his common-law wife. The couple had been the subject of domestic complaints in the past.

Giroux said Winn was also known to police, but would not specify in what context. While he said Winn is not obligated to speak with investigators, Giroux noted that the burden of testifying at trial would fall solely on his young granddaughter if he does not.

Melissa Lewis, 24, has been charged with second-degree murder. She appeared at Old City Hall court on Sunday and was remanded in custody.

Gillespie’s death is listed as Toronto’s 17th homicide of 2010.