Toronto senior on trial for murder says spirit told him to beat 2 women


TORONTO — A Toronto senior who is on trial for murder is telling jurors that a spirit told him in a dream to beat up two fellow residents at a long-term care home, killing one and injuring another.  

Peter Brooks, now 76, has pleaded not guilty to the first-degree murder of 72-year-old Jocelyn Dickson and the attempted murder of 91-year-old Lourdes Missier.

Crown prosecutors have told jurors that late one night in March 2013, Brooks used his cane to attack Dickson and Missier in their beds at the Wexford Residence in Toronto”s east end.

Brooks says Dickson and Missier were “annoying” and aggravated him constantly.

On the night the two women were attacked, Brooks says he had a dream in which a spirit told him to “beat the crap” out of the women.

Brooks says he”s an “obedient old man” and did use his walking stick to beat up the women, but he says he didn”t think anything would really happen to them or himself.

“I use my stick and beat them up and satisfy my pride,” Brooks told the court. “The dreams are lie. Not intentionally did I want to hurt somebody. I never hurt a fly in my life.”

Crown prosecutors have told the jury that “bad relationships and bad feelings” existed between Brooks and certain other residents at the long-term care home before the night of the deadly attack.

The trial has also heard from a psychiatrist, who assessed Brooks a year before the attack and found the senior represented a “chronic risk” to the home”s frail residents.

Dr. Stephen Barsky told the trial that he examined Brooks in April 2012 after receiving reports of three incidents of aggression by the man against other residents at the home and found the man somewhat irritable, sarcastic and not fully co-operative.

Barsky said he had concerns about Brooks” level of judgement and felt the senior would be better off in a psychiatric group home where there might not be other frail elderly people he could pray on.

He noted, however, that Brooks was able to appreciate the difference between right and wrong and could understand the nature and quality of his actions.