Prosecution rests case in Lockyer murder trial

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Published on November 16, 2007
Neil George Lockyer arrives in the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador for his second-degree murder trial Thursday.-Star Photo by Geraldine Brophy

While both the Crown and the defence agree that Neil George Lockyer killed his daughter's boyfriend in February 2006, Lockyer's lawyer intends to show his client should not be held criminally responsible for the death of Frank McKay.

The trial against Lockyer, who was charged with second-degree murder after McKay's lifeless body was found in his girlfriend Penny Lockyer's residence on Farmdale Road in Corner Brook Feb. 27, 2006, began in the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador in Corner Brook Thursday.

CORNER BROOK - While both the Crown and the defence agree that Neil George Lockyer killed his daughter's boyfriend in February 2006, Lockyer's lawyer intends to show his client should not be held criminally responsible for the death of Frank McKay.

The trial against Lockyer, who was charged with second-degree murder after McKay's lifeless body was found in his girlfriend Penny Lockyer's residence on Farmdale Road in Corner Brook Feb. 27, 2006, began in the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador in Corner Brook Thursday.

After reading an agreed statement of facts signed off on by Lockyer and his lawyer, Peter Ralph, Crown prosecutor Jennifer Colford managed to wrap up the Crown's case by the end of the jury trial's first day.

In the agreed-upon statement, the 12-person jury and presiding Justice Richard LeBlanc heard how McKay, who lived at another residence, and his girlfriend had woken up around 8:20 a.m. of the morning in question. Neil Lockyer, who also had other accommodations, had also spent the night at his daughter's home.

The couple heard Neil Lockyer talking with Ms. Lockyer's two young daughters - aged 4 and 6 - out in the living room. In fact, Lockyer and his granddaughters were on the couch watching cartoons. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary, although the court was also told Lockyer had worn out his welcome by staying two nights and that Penny and McKay had "ignored him the second night."

In the morning, McKay "winked" at his girlfriend, who at that point was in the living room with her father and children, as he left the washroom and proceeded to the kitchen. Ms. Lockyer then went to the washroom herself and, upon leaving, heard what she described as a "weird noise."

At that point, she saw her father and McKay fall through a blanket which had been draped over the kitchen doorway. Neil Lockyer was on top of McKay, who was pleading for help. Penny was trying to separate the two when she saw a knife in her father's hand. After a short struggle, the knife fell to the floor and Neil Lockyer screamed at his daughter.

Penny saw her boyfriend was bleeding moments before her father punched her in the face.

After recovering from the punch, which she later testified knocked her unconscious momentarily, Penny went looking for a cordless phone to call the police. Unable to find the phone, she decided to grab her two daughters, who were by now screaming in the living room, and get out of the house.

By then, the struggle had moved into the living room. When Penny returned to that room, she saw McKay leaning over the arm of a love seat with Neil Lockyer standing over him, stabbing him repeatedly in the neck and screaming "You're going to f*** with me."

McKay fell face down to the floor and a pool of blood came from his body. Penny told police one of her daughters was screaming "Poppy, stop, Frankie is bleeding."

Penny grabbed her children and left the house to get help and was able to get a neighbour to make a 911 call.

When police arrived, Penny was in the street screaming that her father had just murdered her boyfriend.

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The responding members of the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary were unable to enter the residence at first, but could see a man covered in blood standing in the porch. The police eventually forced their way in and arrested Lockyer.

McKay, who died at the scene, had been stabbed 19 times in the back and neck area.

When she took the stand, Penny Lockyer told the court her father had been suffering from severe paranoia and delusions that he was being spied on for cheating the workers' compensation board in British Columbia, even though there were no real grounds of suspicion that he might have been doing so.

The court heard a piece of heavy machinery had accidentally rolled over Lockyer in 1989, resulting in an injury to the left temporal lobe of his brain.

These abnormalities were recorded on medical tests conducted at the time of the accident and again in 2006.

During her testimony, Lockyer's daughter explained how her father thought spies were planted virtually everywhere. He even refused to communicate indoors, for fear the house was bugged; took apart light switches to check for listening devices; and even resorted to writing notes to his daughter so no one could listen to their conversations.

Penny told the court that she tried to get help for her father, but could not find the help she sought. She went to a counsellor at College of the North Atlantic, who told her to go to the police.

She went to the police six times, but said she was told nothing could be done until Lockyer hurt himself, someone else or property.

She said she went to the psychiatric department at Western Memorial Regional Hospital and also could not get anyone to do anything for her father.

Penny said she was told she could lose her children because they were in a dangerous situation.

She also told the court how her father had deep suspicious of McKay being a spy planted to expose Lockyer as a fraud.

"Sorry to burst your bubble, sweetheart, but Frank is one of them," she said her father told her.

Lockyer told his daughter he was going to buy a tape recorder and get McKay angry enough to admit he was a spy. Penny said this really upset and worried her and she tried to tell her father he was wrong about McKay.

Two days before McKay died, Penny Lockyer said her father showed her a tape recorder he had.

Penny, who said she believed her father's conspiracy theories at first but had grown to question them more and more as they became more bizarre, said she doesn't know why her father stabbed McKay that particular morning. However, she did tell the court that her feelings for McKay took precedence over how she felt about her father and this may have further frustrated her dad.

She explained that her husband from a previous marriage had always played second fiddle to her father.

Most of Thursday afternoon was taken up with a two-hour videotaped statement Lockyer gave to police following his arrest. During a period of about 10 or 15 minutes when he was left alone, Lockyer sobbed and moaned loudly and occasionally uttered statements to himself consistent with the story of his paranoia.

"Watch my grandkids. Watch my daughter. Watch 'em," he muttered repeatedly.

While he acknowledged having stabbed McKay in the statement, Lockyer refused to provide an answer as to why or how it happened.

"I don't mean to be ignorant, but I can't say nothing," he repeated, telling the police interrogator to contact his psychiatrist in British Columbia and to tell her he killed someone, implying she might be able to offer police more information.

Lockyer also repeatedly asked about his grandkids and urged the officer to obtain and preserve blood samples from himself and the oldest grandchild, an allusion to earlier testimony from his daughter that he suspected he had been poisoned.

The trial resumes with the start of the defence's case Monday morning.

gkean@thewesternstar.com