Demands for public inquiry into police failings over serial killer who ‘preyed on gay men’

Photo of gay serial killer Bruce McArthur, who staged photos of victims' corpses.

The family of one of the alleged victims of suspected serial killer Bruce McArthur have called for a public inquiry into police failings.

Toronto landscaper Bruce McArthur has been charged with eight counts of murder over killings of men linked to the city’s LGBT community.

The killings spanned several years, with the earliest known victim disappearing in 2010, but McArthur eluded police across years of investigations. He was only identified and arrested in 2017.

Detectives believed that McArthur dismembered his victims, many of whom he met through hook-up sites or in the Gay Village, and disposed of remains at sites he had been landscaping.

Selim Esen, one of Bruce McArthur’s alleged victims

The family of one of McArthur’s victims has this week called for a fully-fledged inquiry looking at the way the case was handled.

Omer Esen, the brother of McArthur’s sixth known victim Selim Esen, made the call as he attended court for a brief hearing relating to the case.

He told the media: “I want to see if there is a possibility of a public inquiry. It will be useful for the future so situations like this don’t happen again.”

A letter was also distributed to the media from Selim Esen’s family.

The letter, signed by Ferhat Cinar and Omer Esen, says: “Our brother Selim has been the victim of a homophobic serial killing.”

It explains: “As a gay person Selim wasn’t happy living in Turkey. Initially, he went to Australia and lived there for nearly three years… in 2013 he went to Canada to get married with his boyfriend and settle there for a new life.

“He completed a counselling course to provide help and support to people in the local community just days before he was reported missing.

“He was very friendly, kind hearted, open, independent minded and curious, passionate about learning new things, gardening, exploring new places and meeting new people.

“People who met him for the first time would be surprised to see how open, friendly and kind spirited he was. His tender and kind humanity came before everything else. He thought, believed, felt and lived free as a bird, beyond any borders and any boundaries.”

Bruce McArthur, a 66-year-old self-employed landscaper, has been charged with eight counts of murder

It adds: “As Selim’s brothers we find it hard to come to terms with our younger brother’s death… we feel humbled and heartened with kind words and feelings expressed about Selim by his friends.

“We feel equally saddenned and want to send our sympathy and condolences to other victims’ families and friends. We wish to express our thanks to the LGBT community, other victims’ families and friends for their campaign work on this case pussing pressure on authorities for a full investigation on the case.

“As yet we have more questions than answers. It is deeply worrying to see that it took years for the authorities to act upon the cases of missing persons reports.

“Lastly, we hope that the memory of our beloved brother raises the spirit of friendship, kindness, solidarity, equality, respect and love that goes beyond boundaries of nationality, ethnicity, gender, sex and colour of skin.”

Bruce McArthur, a 66-year-old self-employed landscaper, has been charged with eight counts of murder

McArthur will be back in court on July 23.