Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Escort says she supported accused killer

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LONDON, Ont. -- The major, if not sole, source of income for the man accused of killing eight-year-old Victoria Stafford was the thousands of dollars one of his many girlfriends earned working as an escort, court heard Friday.

Michael Rafferty was dating at least 15 women through the spring of 2009. Some just went on one or two dates with him, then decided they weren't interested, but to others he was their exclusive boyfriend, they have testified.

Charity Spitzig, a 26-year-old mother of four, testified Friday that she started dating Rafferty in April 2008 and that she was thinking of him as marriage material, wanting to include him in her family. Finances were a struggle, she said, so at one point they decided she should become an escort.

"From then on in any money I was making would go directly to him," she testified at his first-degree murder trial.

Spitzig would deposit the money directly into Rafferty's bank account, records show, for a total of $16,835 from December 2008 until May 2009, when he was arrested. She would also sometimes give him cash, she said.

Court has heard Rafferty told most of the women he was dating that he was a dance instructor and ran a contracting business, but there has been no evidence called so far about any employment he may have had.

Rafferty, 31, has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder, sexual assault causing bodily harm and kidnapping in Tori's death on April 8, 2009.

The trial resumes Tuesday.

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 21, 2012 A24

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