Eight Teen Girls Charged in Toronto Stabbing Death Likely Wanted Victim’s Bottle of Alcohol: Police

Eight Teen Girls Charged in Toronto Stabbing Death Likely Wanted Victim’s Bottle of Alcohol: Police
Police tape is shown in Toronto on May 2, 2017. (Graeme Roy/The Canadian Press)
Marnie Cathcart
Eight young females have been charged with second-degree murder in the stabbing death of a 59-year-old Toronto man, Toronto Police Homicide Detective Sergeant Terry Browne said at a news conference on Dec. 21. He said it is believed the girls were trying to get a bottle of alcohol from the victim.

“Eight young girls and most under the age of 16⁠—if this isn’t alarming and shocking to everyone, then we’re all in trouble quite frankly,” Browne told reporters.

“I’ve been in policing for almost 35 years and you think you’ve seen it all,” Browne said. “Anyone who isn’t shocked with hearing something like this has clearly just thrown in the towel and just said that anything is possible in this world.”

The girls made their first court appearance on Dec. 18 and have been remanded into custody. The next court date has been set for Dec. 29.

Witnesses Needed

Police have asked members of the public to come forward if they witnessed the event or have video footage. Investigators are requesting any video surveillance from the intersection of York Street and University Avenue in Toronto on Dec. 18 at 12:05 a.m. Any surveillance footage in the area from an hour before that until a couple hours after that are appreciated as well.

Browne described the alleged attack as a “swarming.” He said the girls⁠—three aged 13, three aged 14, and two aged 16⁠—were allegedly in an earlier altercation in the area earlier in the evening of Dec. 17, around 10 p.m. Police said the girls met through social media and came from varying parts of the city.

“I wouldn’t describe them as a gang at this point,” said the police officer, adding that what is alleged to have occurred “would be consistent with what we traditionally call a swarming or swarming type of behaviour.”

“Maybe these were eight young women that wanted to make a name for themselves and see if they could become socially famous,” he said.

Police believe they all acted in unison.


“They are all equally culpable,” he said. “There is no doubt in our minds that they were all working as a singular entity in a swarming mob mentality when they chose to attack this man.”

“We don’t know how or why they met on that evening and why the destination was downtown Toronto,” said Browne. “We don’t know how long they’ve been acquainted.”

Three of the youth have had prior contact with police services. Police also secured a number of weapons but have not indicated what was taken into evidence.

The homicide occurred on Dec. 18 at approximately 12:17 a.m. Police responded to a call for help to the York Street and University Area, after being told that a man had allegedly been assaulted and stabbed by a group of teenage girls.

The victim was transported to the hospital with life-threatening injuries but did not survive. The man’s name has not been released as police said next of kin is still being notified. The police will not name the young girls as their identity is protected by the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

The man was not homeless, although police said he had moved into the shelter system in late fall, despite having a very supportive family in the area.

“I wouldn’t necessarily call him homeless, maybe just recently on some hard luck,” Browne said.