A serial killer accused of sexually assaulting, killing and dismembering multiple men has had his seven-year reign of terror in Canada come to end after pleading guilty to eight counts of first-degree murder.
Bruce McArthur, a landscaper from Toronto who also worked as Santa Claus in a shopping centre during Christmas, had his sickening crimes revealed after he was arrested last January.
The 67-year-old was initially charged with the murder of two men but a police investigation linked him to the deaths of six others, spanning from 2010 to 2017.
McArthur pleaded guilty to killing Selim Esen, Andrew Kinsman, Majeed Kayhan, Dean Lisowick, Soroush Mahmudi, Skandaraj Navaratnam, Abdulbasir Faizi and Kirushna Kanagaratnam.
The majority of his victims had links to Toronto’s Gay Village neighbourhood.
It is believed six of the eight killings were sexual in nature with some of the bodies showing signs of binding or confinement.
After McArthur killed his victims it is believed he “staged” their dead bodies, which involved posing the body in a certain position and photographing them.
He then mutilated their bodies by chopping them up and hiding their remains in large pot plants at a property where he did landscaping work.
Seven of the men were found scattered in planters around the property, with the remains of the eighth victim discovered in a ravine behind the same property.
McArthur was previously married with a wife and two children and didn’t acknowledge his sexual orientation until he was in his 40s.
In 1997 he left his family and moved to Toronto where he quickly became well known in the gay community there.
One member of the community, Paul Ciantar, told CNN a lot of his friends knew McArthur well and that his Santa-like appearance made him seem totally innocuous.
“They all said that they never would have suspected him,” Mr Ciantar said.
“He looks like Santa Claus. He looks harmless. That probably really helped him.”
It is believed the landscaper had relationships with all of his victims, some of which were sexual.
He periodically hired workers for his landscaping business
Police set up two special task forces to look into the disappearances of men in the Gay Village area of Toronto after some went missing.
The alleged victims fit a pattern. Most were of Middle Eastern or South Asian descent and lived on the margins of Canadian society, their disappearances attracting little attention.
One victim hid the fact that he was gay from his Muslim family. Another was a recent immigrant with a drug problem. Another alleged victim was homeless, smoked crack cocaine and worked as a prostitute.
But then Andrew Kinsman vanished. The 49-year-old LGBTQ activist and former bartender in Toronto had many friends. When he suddenly went missing the day after Toronto’s gay pride parade, his friends noticed quickly, and so did the police.
Police set up a second special task force to look into the disappearances of men in the Gay Village shortly after Mr Kinsman went missing.
He was last seen on a surveillance video getting into McArthur’s van on June 26, 2017, and his DNA was later found inside, as was the ligature with which he was apparently strangled.
Members of the LGBTQ community long voiced concerns about a potential serial killer and pushing for answers in light of the disappearances.
Toronto Mayor John Tory called McArthur a “monster” who preyed on the city.
Forensics spent months poring over McArthur’s apartment and officers searched more than 100 properties where he worked to see if he might have buried body parts there. Police didn’t find body parts at other properties he worked at.
McArthur’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for Monday at 10am local time.