CORNER BROOK — Madeline Louvelle was not surprised Malcolm Norman Cuff has finally admitted to murdering her sister.
She also won’t be surprised if Cuff, who recently told the National Parole Board that he deliberately killed 16-year-old Janet Louvelle in 1979, eventually comes clean with the full story about what he did to her.
Cuff, who was sentenced to life in prison in 1984 for killing 20-year-old Marilyn Ann Newman, confessed up to being responsible for Louvelle’s death during an interview with police investigators in 2000. That was in preparation for the so-called ‘faint hope’ hearing of Roland Robert Durnford — Cuff’s co-accused in the Newman murder, who was applying for early parole eligibility at the time.
Cuff admitted to chasing after Louvelle, falling on her and then leaving her face down in a puddle of water, but claimed her death was accidental.
While that was enough for him to be convicted of manslaughter in 2003, even the judge who presided over the case said there was obviously much more to the story than Cuff was willing to say.
Earlier this month, during a parole hearing, Cuff told the board reviewing his file he indeed deliberately killed Louvelle by suffocating her in a snowbank.
“Of course he’s going to say that now,” said Madeline Louvelle who is Janet’s young sister. “It would look better on him and (the parole board) would see he is trying to be a changed person and wants to come forward with the truth of things.”
Louvelle and her family don’t put much value in anything Cuff has to say.
Even what he has admitted to is not the full picture of what happened to Louvelle. His version of events does not account for a knife wound that Dr. Simon Avis, the province’s chief medical examiner, said would have been inflicted at or near the time of her death. Cuff’s story fails to explain why there was a trail of discarded clothes leading to her body, not to mention the position in which her body was found up against a tree.
Louvelle believes Cuff will tell more, if given the chance at a future parole board hearing.
“He will eventually, if he wants to get parole,” she said. “These are the little tactic things he’s doing. Eventually, we will find out the truth behind the story because it will go better for him and the prole board will think he’s remorseful.”
Paddy McNeil is the retired RCMP officer to whom Cuff finally admitted responsibility for killing Louvelle back in 2000. He too thinks Cuff is just trying to manipulate the justice system for his own best interests.
“I felt all along Malcolm Cuff planned both homicides and acted them out,” said McNeil, who also investigated the Newman murder.
McNeil feels for the Louvelle and Newman families every time these horrific crimes are brought back to the public’s attention. He also sympathizes with the impact it has on Cuff’s and Durnford’s families.
It must also be unnerving for the handful of other women who Cuff had identified on a purported list. They too, said McNeil, are victims.
McNeil wondered if the parole board asked Cuff about the details not yet explained regarding Louvelle’s death or if any of the women on Cuff’s list were ever asked what they thought about the idea of him possibly being released.
“My biggest concern is how (does the parole board) know when he is going to start telling the truth now?” asked McNeil.
For now, McNeil and Louvelle are relieved knowing Cuff will not be out in the community any time soon.
"They got it right," said McNeil of the board's decision to deny parole. "Let's hope they continue to get it right."