Second trial starts in lesbian axe murder case

Sep 24, 2009 11:55 AM
Betsy Powell
Courts Bureau

A woman plotted the axe murder of her boyfriend for the two-fold motive of financial gain and love, a Crown attorney told a jury at the opening of her Superior Court murder trial today.

Nicola Puddicombe, 36, is charged with the first-degree murder of Dennis Hoy, who was found naked and bludgeoned in her bed early Oct. 27, 2006.

Crown attorney Maureen Bellmore told jurors they will hear evidence that Puddicombe and her lesbian lover, Ashleigh Pechaluk, planned to murder Hoy with an axe while he was asleep in an apartment on The Queensway.

The plan was that Pechaluk "would do the killing and Puddicombe do the talking," in an attempt to blame the murder on someone who had been slashing the tires on Hoy’s car.

Pechaluk was on trial earlier this year, Bellmore told jurors. She did not mention the outcome. Pechaluk will testify at this trial about her year-long relationship with the older Puddicombe, who was 33, Pechlauk 22, Bellmore said.

She’s expected to testify that Puddicombe said about a week before the killing it was the "perfect time" because there was a tire slasher to blame.

Pechaluk is also expected to say she didn’t have the strength to hit Hoy over the head and that hitting someone was against Puddicombe’s Catholic beliefs.

Puddicombe told police she was in the shower for 20 minutes when Hoy was hit on the back of the head. Lying across his body was a blood-covered axe.

Jurors, of course, have the option of accepting or rejecting some or all of witness testimony, Bellmore said.

Puddicombe, wearing her black hair in a bun, sat in court behind her lawyer, Richard Stern, listening to the Crown’s opening.

She had been dating Hoy for 11 years but wanted him dead to collect a life insurance policy and pension proceeds, but also so she could pursue her romance with Pechaluk.

The two women met while working at Loblaws at Victoria Park and Gerrard.

A Toronto Police crime scene expert was the first witness to take the stand.

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