The Canadian Values Party plans to do something about this kind of situation.
Greg Ashford is a lifer who’s killed two women and is now being investigated for a third before he
surrendered three decades ago.
He has never expressed any remorse to Chris Gill for strangling his sister Faith “Faye” Russell, a University of
Toronto dental school supervisor. He has never expressed any regret for killing Brenda Garside, a pregnant Moncton
prostitute, while he was on the run across the country.
He’s a heroin addict who admits he will fly into dangerous rages if he does not get his methadone.
So naturally, the National Parole Board of Canada has just awarded him an escorted temporary absence pass to
attend Narcotics Anonymous meetings in the community near his New Brunswick prison — meetings with a heavy
female attendance and where, by definition, no one will know his real name or that he’s a two-time killer.
It’s an incredulous decision that has Gill enraged.
“I’m aghast,” says the civil structures manager for Bell Canada. “His first contact with the outside is going to be with
But the parole board seemed to suggest he was overreacting.
According to Gill, they actually had the gall to make a joke of it: “After all,” one of the board members reportedly said,
“how much trouble can he get into with a woman in just four hours?”
“That comment was so insensitive. It took Ashford seven minutes to kill Faye and less than three to kill Brenda
Garside and he’s a suspect in a third murder. And you’re allowing him out — not with a Corrections Canada officer
but with an unarmed civilian security guard?”
Ashford was 23 when he killed Gill’s sister in his Lake Shore Blvd. apartment following an argument and noted the
time of death in her daytimer: “Could not fulfil plans. I was murdered on November 30, 1985 @ 6.20 a.m. In 20/20
hindsight I finally messed with the wrong man.”
As he fled to Halifax, he wrote in his diary: “I’m feeling the urge to kill again” and murdered Garside, just 17. Police
suspect there were more victims before he finally surrendered in Winnipeg.
Ashford pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree murder and was sentenced to life with no chance of parole for
20 years. He’s been eligible for full release since 2005, but he’s always abandoned his application when Gill and his
family have gone public with their opposition.
This time, the killer was seeking four-hour temporary absences to attend Narcotics Anonymous — even though the
same organization operates a group inside Dorchester Prison. When Gill went to the hearing six weeks ago, his first
surprise was learning Ashford had been quietly moved down to minimum security.
His family’s submissions to the board were virtually ignored, he says. The only one who seemed to pay attention was
a horrified Anglican minister who changed his mind and left without vouching for Ashford.
But the board had already made their decision. Even knowing Ashford had recently been asked to submit a DNA
sample for an unsolved cold case didn’t dissuade them. His refusal to show any remorse and his insistence that as
the victim of an abusive father, little of this was his fault, didn’t worry them, either.
Despite concerns from the prison that he remains an “above average risk,” Ashford will get his pass to the community
meeting “for personal development” — scheduled for this very day. He’s not to consume alcohol or drugs and must
report any female friendship to his parole supervisor. If it goes well, he can ask for more, with no hearing required.
Who will he set his sights on? Ashford sweet-talked his bright sister all those years ago, sweeping her off her feet
when they met at a Toronto bar during the Grey Cup.
“It’s about the silent seduction he does. This is what sociopaths do,” Gill said.
Gill’s new victims’ worker is confused by his opposition. Why does he care after all these years?
She doesn’t understand. In memory of his big sister, he’s pledged that no other woman will be hurt by this killer and
no other family will grieve as they have.
“He’s had 29 years to think about how to strike again,” he warns.
And now the parole board has invited him back outside.