As the details of Bruce McAthur’s horrific crimes were read aloud in a Toronto courtroom, Sean Cribbin was overwhelmed by feelings of guilt that he survived an encounter with the serial killer who targeted Toronto’s Village for nearly a decade while eight others did not.
“I felt like I didn’t deserve to be sitting amongst them,” Cribbin said, describing being next to the family and friends of McArthur’s victims. “But I just had to see him. That was me facing my demon.”
McArthur pleaded guilty Tuesday to eight counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Skandaraj Navaratnam, Abdulbasir Faizi, Majeed Kayhan, Soroush Mahmudi, Kirushna Kumar Kanagaratnam, Dean Lisowick, Selim Esen and Andrew Kinsman.
“I was sitting there and hearing the abbreviated charges of what he did to those people, I was thinking for me to get out of there unscathed, I felt guilty,” Cribbin said. “I felt humbled and I felt a lot of guilt.”
Seeing McArthur hunched over in the prisoner’s box as he repeated the words “guilty” to each charge, Cribbin was struck by the 67-year-old landscaper’s diminished physical appearance from the jovial “Santa” figure he remembered.
“I saw a pathetic old man,” Cribbin said. “I can’t believe that he did those things because he looked so weak.”
Cribbin told Global News in an interview last year that had agreed to meet McArthur at his apartment in the summer of 2017 for a sexual encounter that included bondage and submission role-playing. It ended with Cribbin falling unconscious, after he agreed to take drugs.