Sikura case botched, documents suggest
Horse breeder's burning death might not have been accidental, CTV News reports
Wednesday, July 25, 2001 – Print Edition,
A copy of an internal police document suggests that the investigation of
the 1994 death of millionaire horse breeder John Sikura was mishandled
by York Regional Police, who ruled it an accident, CTV News reported
Mr. Sikura died in his Cadillac, which burst into flames outside his Stouffville-area house.
The report, broadcast last night, did not say who wrote the document but quoted two sentences from it:
"Two murderers may have escaped justice and police corruption may have
been covered up."
"Despite ample police manpower the neighbours were not canvassed."
The television report did not explain the reference to two murderers,
but it showed a neighbour saying she saw a car pull out of the driveway
just after the fire started.
The Sikura family sued General Motors for $136-million (U.S.) over the
fire and won an out-of-court settlement, despite the company's denial of fault. Journalist Sharon Dunn, then Mr. Sikura's estranged wife, is now Premier Mike Harris's companion.
Much speculation has focused on the role in the investigation of York
police chief Bryan Cousineau, who was forced out in 1998 after pleading guilty to breach of trust. The Ontario Provincial Police and York's
current chief, Robert Middaugh, have said questions remain to be
answered about the case.
Mr. Sikura was a self-made immigrant form Czechslovakia who came to
Canada in 1950. As well as the large Stouffville house, he owned a farm
in Kentucky. His interest in horses extended to an unsuccessful,
$70-million offer for the Ontario Jockey Club.
On the night of Nov. 25, 1994, Mr. Sikura returned home in his Cadillac Seville. It burst into flames in the driveway.
Investigative reporter and Globe and Mail columnist Stevie Cameron
reported recently that the police might reopen an investigation into Mr. Sikura's death.
She said 17 investigators -- police officers, firefighters, federal transportation officials, insurance adjusters, forensic engineers and forensic scientists -- spent a year examining the evidence and and
finally concluded the 60-year-old man died in an accidental car fire.
But formal accident reports could not explain splashes of gasoline on
Mr. Sikura's clothes, or his earlier concerns, expressed to his then girlfriend, that he believed someone had tampered with his car. Staff .............................................
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