The following is a transcript of comments made by Michael Rafferty who spoke to the court for the first time on Tuesday during his sentencing.
The 31-year-old man, who never took the stand during the nine-week trial in London, Ont., was convicted Friday of murdering, raping and kidnapping eight-year-old Tori Stafford. The conviction means an automatic life sentence with no chance of parole until 2034.
I wanted to come to this court room defending myself.
And after hearing the victim impact statements, I think there’s something more important to say.
To Tara McDonald, for the past three years I’ve had so much to say on my behalf.
Nobody has all the pieces of the puzzle and I am willing to give you those pieces but uh…
I know this has been a long ordeal for everybody. I am glad it’s come to an end. Hopefully everybody, this will provide some closure of some sort to me being sentenced to life.
I am truly sorry to the entire family. Not that it has much bearing to anyone coming from my mouth, but it’s still true.
I’ve stayed quiet this entire trial thinking it was for my defence, thinking it was for the better, but I do have something to say.
And that is for Tara McDonald alone without the media, without spectators, so at least you know to be true umm or as true as you will believe it without other people listening in, without it being to my benefit.
I still disagree with the conviction of these three charges. I am guilty of many crimes and there are a lot of things I am very, very ashamed of. But these three counts, I still stand firmly behind not guilty.
As I said I would fill in the blanks for you if you wish. Umm, however, that can be seen by the courts or in the institution I will be staying.
To your son, I believe that impacts him the hardest. I can only imagine that something like that came from the words, came from the mouth of my own son.
I have lost a child before, but I have no idea what you have gone through. I cannot imagine what you have gone through. For that I’m very sorry.
As I said I am standing behind not guilty of these convictions. Not withstanding though, I do believe that I am a very definite part of why Victoria’s not here today.
Once again, I am very sorry not that (inaudible) you may believe me. But as I said I stayed quiet thinking that was to my defence. Not thinking of how it may impact (inaudible) of Victoria Stafford.
That’s all I have to say.